By Connor Steel
SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY have urged commuters from Fareham and Portchester to check their journeys as the provider prepares to launch its new timetable on December 11 (Sunday); which is said to offer greater efficiency for users and optimises train services despite current funding constraints for transportation sectors.
The new timetables have been designed in response to statistics released by the provider, which proved that current demand for South Western Railway services continues to remain below the network’s capacity. Since April customer numbers have stabilised at around 69% of pre-coronavirus levels; rising from a past analysis.
But on-peak numbers stayed considerably lower at 53% for morning and afternoon periods combined; costs of tickets, industrial action and working from home all arguably paying a part. In a bid to improve this number the train provider has decided to make a variety of subtle tweaks to their least popular journeys and stations.
Targeted alterations include a wider spread of train services and it will see a number of stations being offered more stops across the entire Southern region including Hampshire; with an example being Farnborough and Fleet who will regularly see three trains in both directions per hour during evening peak times of 4pm to 7pm.
A majority of these changes will affect commuters across London regions; with stations such as Twickenham and Staines seeing an improved distribution of services from the capital. Direct links to the Clapham Junction station have been restored to two per hour from Farncombe and there will be more connections for Ash Vale.
Locally there will be multiple improvements of journeys running between London and Portsmouth; featuring a number of stops such as Fareham and Portchester. As a result timings have slightly changed by two or three minutes on a small amount of journeys during off peak times, whilst on-peak periods mostly remain unedited.
As always exact timings will be displayed on live information boards at each individual station and these will all be updated in case of delays and cancellations. These new journey times have been published by South Western Railway and regular commuters can plan their routes up to four weeks in advance via an online link.
Steve Tyler, Performance and Planning Director for South Western Railway, said in a short statement: “This new timetable will broadly maintain current service levels across our (entire) network, while delivering more consistent and efficient service for our customers, based on recent close scrutiny of current travel patterns.”
In other news it has been announced that RMT union members will take industrial action throughout the next two months, starting with a forty-eight hour strike on December 13 and 14. Planned action will further be held on January 3 and 4, with national and localised disruption likely during / beyond this upcoming festive period.
Readers are encouraged to visit media sites such as BBC News, Sky News and ITV News for all developing updates on these planned strikes, whilst South Western Railway are yet to confirm any special timetables for the dates earmarked for industrial actions. Further information will likely be published online via the link here.
PICTURED AT TOP: Official South Western Railway logo on blue background (reproduced with permission).