Just the ticket Get to Lon­don faster af­ter change to timetable

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - Phillip THOMP­SON phillip.thomp­[email protected]­plc.com

TRAIN jour­neys from Chel­tenham to Lon­don are set to be short­ened to un­der two hours, as part of ‘the big­gest trans­for­ma­tion to the timetable’ in nearly 50 years.

From De­cem­ber, Great West­ern Rail­way will speed up its timetable and cre­ate an ad­di­tional 5,000 seats per day.

Trains de­part­ing the cap­i­tal for Chel­tenham will also com­mence ear­lier in the day, and con­tinue to much later than cur­rently timetabled.

The new timetable will be pub­lished on Septem­ber 15.

Chel­tenham MP Alex Chalk said: “This is great news for lo­cal and re­gional eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and will sup­port Chel­tenham’s fu­ture as the UK’S pre­mier cy­ber se­cu­rity hub.

“Sub-two hour ser­vices will boost in­vest­ment and jobs for our young peo­ple.

“It is great to see that by Christ­mas we will ex­pe­ri­ence the full ben­e­fit of the Govern­ment’s in­vest­ment in both track and train.”

Mr Chalk has reg­u­larly spo­ken about rail travel from the county to the cap­i­tal, hav­ing pre­vi­ously raised the is­sue about sea­son ticket prices dur­ing a de­bate in Par­lia­ment last De­cem­ber.

GWR man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Mark Hop­wood said: “While De­cem­ber may seem a long time away for many, we have been work­ing hard be­hind the scenes to pre­pare to im­ple­ment the big­gest timetable change on this net­work since 1976, en­abling us to take ad­van­tage of the full ben­e­fits that new In­ter­city Ex­press Trains are bring­ing.

“In pro­vid­ing more fre­quent and quicker jour­neys, our new timetable will for the vast ma­jor­ity of users quite lit­er­ally mean ‘all change please’ and we are look­ing for­ward to pub­lish­ing

fur­ther de­tails soon.”

The first train to Chel­tenham Spa from Lon­don will also leave ear­lier, at 05.33 com­pared to 0.733 to­day.

The last de­par­ture will be at 21.33 rather than 19.48.

Great West­ern Rail­way said con­nec­tiv­ity would im­prove too, with the num­ber of through trains from Lon­don to Chel­tenham Spa dou­bling at off­peak times.

The im­prove­ments are driven by GWR’S In­ter­city Ex­press Trains and the in­vest­ment to in­fra­struc­ture across the re­gion, in­clud­ing Net­work Rail’s elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of the main­line be­tween South Wales and Lon­don.

The changes will mean typ­i­cal jour­neys be­tween Chel­tenham Spa to Lon­don will be short­ened by 10 min­utes to 2 hours. The fastest jour­neys will come in at 1 hour 57 min­utes.

In­terim route man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Net­work Rail Mike Gal­lop said: “The timetable change this De­cem­ber will be the big­gest since 1976 and will mean faster jour­neys and more fre­quent ser­vices for pas­sen­gers.

“It fol­lows un­prece­dented in­vest­ment in rail­way in­fra­struc­ture in­clud­ing elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, im­proved sig­nalling, up­graded sta­tions and much more which to­gether with the in­tro­duc­tion of new trains will trans­form rail travel.”

Great West­ern Rail­way said: “The planned im­prove­ments are so sig­nif­i­cant, par­tic­u­larly for those who travel reg­u­larly and used to catch­ing a par­tic­u­lar ser­vice ev­ery day, that GWR is launch­ing an aware­ness cam­paign to high­light the changes ahead, and make sure cus­tomers are pre­pared.

“The timetable is ex­pected to come into ef­fect on 15 De­cem­ber, and the plans are sub­ject to fi­nal in­dus­try ap­proval in­clud­ing from Net­work Rail.

“It is ex­pected to be pub­lished on 15 Septem­ber.”

One of the new In­ter­city Ex­press Trains

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