Biggest timetable shake-up in almost five years as GWR responds to changes in passenger travel patterns
The biggest shake-up to railway timetables since the introduction of Intercity Express Trains is coming this May, as GWR responds to changes in passenger travel patterns.
Following an extensive review to give those travelling the right services at the times they wish to travel, the new timetable which comes in from this Sunday will deliver almost a 5% increase in train services every day across the GWR network.
As part of these improvements, 65 extra trains a week will be provided in South Wales, and 44 additional train services every day will serve the wider Bristol area.
The changes will help deliver on long-planned ambitions across the network and will see around 20% of all trains retimed to better suit passenger needs, providing greater value for money for taxpayers and leaner and greener travel options on public transport.
GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:
“I am really excited to say that this new timetable provides the biggest shake-up in service levels since the introduction of Intercity Express trains – providing more trains where they are needed most and reflecting changes in travel patterns.
“We will deliver more train services, serving even more stations, and providing greater value for money for taxpayers.”
This includes changes to London and Thames Valley services, bringing greater connectivity with Elizabeth Line destinations; a significant number of extra trains in South Wales better connecting Carmarthen to Swansea and beyond towards London; and further enhancements as part of the MetroWest scheme, doubling GWR services between Gloucester and Bristol, and adding an extra train an hour between Westbury and Bristol.
The number of GWR services on an average weekday will increase from 1643 in May 2019 to 1720 in May 2023.
Passengers will also benefit from carbon reductions from changes in the type of train used on some routes.
Detailed service changes are now available in online journey planners and through GWR’s Journey Check service https://www.gwr.com/travel-information/travel-updates/check-your-journey and those used to catching a specific train should check their journey in advance.
Note to editors
London and Thames Valley
Additional Elizabeth line services will run with up to ten trains per hour east of Heathrow Airport Junction, allowing GWR to make changes to better shape services in the Thames Valley:
London Paddington-Didcot Parkway Class 387 (electric trains) services will run non-stop from Slough to Paddington on the mainline – saving as much as 10 minutes on journey times.
Switching from the relief lines will also help performance, avoiding conflict with Elizabeth line services. Services on the mainlines will be retimed, and there will be various minor changes to re-cast services around the revised Paddington-Didcot service. The 0634 Didcot-Paddington, 0831 Reading-Paddington, 1656 Paddington-Maidenhead and 1757 Paddington-Reading services will be replaced by Elizabeth line services.
London Paddington-Oxford services will now call at Didcot Parkway.
Marlow, Henley, Windsor and Greenford branch line services will be retimed to ensure they better connect with the mainline services in the revised timetable.
London Paddington-North Cotswolds services will no longer call at Slough off peak. This will enable them to be sped up progressively. This will reduce journey times by approximately 5 minutes.
South and West Wales
GWR intends to introduce 65 additional direct services between Carmarthen and London Paddington.
It will introduce additional direct services to Carmarthen, calling at Llanelli, Pembrey and Burry Port. This is an extension of the Swansea services, and will mean two hourly services with additional weekday departures at:
- Carmarthen to London - 0927, 1127, 1424, 1619, 1818, 2030 (to Bristol Parkway)
- London to Carmarthen - 0648, 0948, 1148, 1348, 1548
And additional Saturday departures at:
- Carmarthen to London - 0932, 1325, 1528, 1720, 1919 (to Swansea)
- London to Carmarthen - 0648, 0848, 1048, 1248, 1448
The popular summer services to Pembroke Dock will also return for the first time since Covid, with four services a day between May and September.
The current 2022 Swansea to Swindon service will terminate at Bristol Parkway from May.
Enhancing leisure travel
Responding to changes in demand for leisure travel, GWR has reviewed its South-West timetable to develop support for this important market.
- The 0637 Paddington-Penzance will cease to operate and the 0545 Paddington-Bristol will be replaced by a new 0600 Paddington-Penzance service travelling via Swindon and Bristol, calling Plymouth at 0940 and Penzance at 1140. This will provide a direct service from Swindon, Bath and Bristol to Devon and Cornwall
- GWR will add eight additional weekday direct services between London and Weston-super-Mare by extending Bristol services. All services will call additionally at Nailsea, Yatton and Worle
- GWR will add an 0838 Paddington-Westbury service calling at all Kennet Valley stations between Reading and Westbury to allow for earlier travel. Kennet Valley calls on the 0938 Paddington to Paignton will be removed to allow for a reduced journey time to Torbay
- Additional Saturday Weymouth services will run with two morning services (0809 Gloucester-Weymouth and 0845 Swindon-Weymouth) and two evening services (1845 Weymouth-Bristol Temple Meads and 1940 Weymouth-Swindon) throughout the summer, along with a new, year-round additional service at 2128 from Weymouth to Bristol, Monday to Thursday
- The 1004 Paddington-Penzance service will run non-stop from Reading to Exeter to give an earlier arrival in Devon and Cornwall
- Direct London services to Newquay will run throughout the summer, alongside a number of other high summer services
Impacting Bristol, Gloucester, Worcester, Westbury, Salisbury, Southampton, Weymouth.
The next phase of the MetroWest Timetable will start in May, funded by the West of England Combined Authority. This will mean:
- Bristol-Westbury becomes three trains per hour, with the new service being a stopping service (some services extend beyond Westbury to Salisbury and Southampton
- Bristol-Gloucester becomes two trains per hour and Bristol-Worcester becomes one train per hour, by extending a Gloucester service to Worcester
The MetroWest changes also allow GWR to retime Bristol-Weymouth services into a regular two-hourly pattern.
Media Relations Manager
Great Western Railway
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Notes to editors
First Greater Western Limited, trading as “Great Western Railway” (GWR), operates trains across the Great Western franchise area, which includes South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, across southern England and into London. GWR provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services, and before the covid-19 pandemic helped over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year. GWR has been awarded a National Rail Contract to continue operating the Great Western network, which shall run up to 21 June 2025, with the potential for a further three years at the Secretary of State’s discretion. Find out more here: https://www.gwr.com/about-us