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Temporary changes made to final confirmation of rail timetables

Network Rail are temporarily changing how far in advance train timetables can be confirmed. Train times and tickets are usually available for customers to plan and book their journeys up to 12 weeks before departure. However, possibly until the second half of 2021, some may not be available until closer to the date of departure.

What this means for buying tickets

With only a small number of trains affected by this, we want customers to continue planning their journeys with confidence and have put in place a series of measures to support this. Customers will still be able to purchase tickets 12 weeks before departure, but it is possible the train timetable could change. We expect final timetables to be confirmed six weeks before the departure date.

If a customer purchases a ticket more than six weeks before their journey, they should check back with the train operator they will be travelling with at the six weeks mark to see if their train time has been altered. If so, and they then do not wish to travel, they can request a refund from their original retailer.

If travelling with Chiltern Railways, then customers can travel on an alternative Chiltern train two hours either side of their original service.

Why this is happening

  • All parts of the railway have come together to support the nation throughout the coronavirus pandemic to ensure that key workers could get to work and that supermarket shelves were stacked. This meant changing the timetable to meet the needs of the country: initially reducing the timetable as journeys fell, and then increasing services over time as restrictions eased and shops, schools and more workplaces opened.
  • Train planning teams within operators and Network Rail have worked tirelessly to deliver two years’ worth of timetable changes in half a year to introduce more capacity while maintaining high levels of punctuality. These services are helping to support the economy as we recover from the impacts of the virus.
  • Following the September uplift, we will be running the highest level of services possible and are focused on delivering previously planned changes to the timetable in December 2020, May 2021 and beyond.
  • As we develop those future timetable changes, we will also be working hard to return to providing information about train times and tickets 12 weeks in advance, which has not been previously possible as the timetable changed every 6-8 weeks. While over 9 in 10 people (91%) book their tickets within a fortnight of travel, we’re committed to giving flexibility to book much further in advance as we welcome people back to train travel and expect to return to 12 week’s advance sales by the end of next year.

This page was last updated on 15th October 2020.