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 end of 2022, 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 eight weeks before the departure date.

If a customer purchases a ticket more than eight weeks before their journey, they should check back with the train operator they will be travelling with at the eight 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 December 2021 uplift, we will be running the highest level of services possible and are focused on delivering previously planned changes to the timetable in May 2022 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 further in advance. 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 will be releasing confirmed timetables and tickets 9 weeks in advance by the end of December and the railway industry are committed to increase this during the next year.

This page was last updated on 8th December 2021.