Check your train times as GWR’s new summer timetable begins this weekend

Thursday 12th May 2022 6:00 am
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Passengers checking a departures board at a large railway station
Be sure to check your train times carefully as the new summer timetables begin this Sunday. (Picture: GWR )

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ON Sunday, May 15, and Monday, May 16, the Great Western Railway (GWR) summer timetable will begin, with services specifically designed to support changes in travel behaviour over the summer months.

The vast majority of changes are minor timing alterations, and the train operator is urging passengers to check before travelling to avoid getting caught out.

However, the new timetable will see the doubling of services on the popular Okehampton to Exeter Dartmoor Line, following its successful reopening last November, restoring a regular, year-round passenger service to that area of West Devon for the first time in almost 50 years. It was the first of the national Restoring Your Railway schemes, made possible to thanks to over £40 million of Government investment.  The news service is proving popular with people from across West Devon, Torridge and North Cornwall, helping to reduce the number of vehicles on the busy A30 to Exeter.

In Cornwall, to respond to changes in seasonal demand, GWR is also to operate direct services between London Paddington and Newquay via mainline stations like Liskeard and the branchline from Par, providing a direct rail link to this ever-popular seaside town from May until September.

To cater for this weekend’s St Ives Food Festival, GWR is set to support the St Erth to St Ives branchline train service by running an extra bus shuttle service from 10am on Saturday and Sunday and has even managed to be able to double parking capacity at St Erth.

In Devon, as well as the improvements between Exeter and Okehampton, the Exmouth to Paignton service has had provision made for the new station being built at Marsh Barton, with calls there factored passively into the summer timetable.

Axminster in East Devon will also now join the GWR network. While it is only one service a day calling there to begin with, if demands warrants it this could be the start of more frequent stops.

On the lines to Dorset, more carriages have been added to Weymouth trains for the summer, with four-car formations wherever possible on Saturdays, which is the maximum that currently operate with the current station infrastructure.

The new GWR timetable has been designed to support the South West’s economy and leading destinations and to reduce costs where appropriate, which is particularly important when considering the taxpayer support the rail industry continues to receive to run services.

To avoid duplication of Southern Railway services, the two GWR weekday trains that operate from Gloucester to beyond Portsmouth and on to Brighton are being removed from the timetable, although they will still run from Gloucester to Warminster or Westbury. Very few people make the full journey from the Gloucester area to the South Coast, and making this change means GWR can strengthen the busy, hourly Cardiff to Portsmouth service to five carriages. Customers will then be able to use these trains to make connections through to Brighton, which is already well served by other operators.

Find out how your journey could be affected by the new timetable changes at https://www.gwr.com/travel-information/train-times

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