New East Coast rail timetable delayed until 2023
The new timetable on the East Coast Main Line through York will be delayed by at least a year
YorkMix reported details of new faster services to London and Edinburgh in June this year.
York would get the best service it has ever had and even the famous morning Flying Scotsman from Edinburgh to London would once again call at the city’s station.
As well as LNER services the timetable would also have seen changes to CrossCountry. TPE (TransPennine Express) and Northern too.
However, now the Department for Transport has put the brakes on the plans.
Earlier this week, details in an email, seen by the industry magazine Modern Railways, revealed that problems with implementing the changes worried Network Rail which warned the government it should not attempt this in May next year but wait until at least 2023.
Public reaction to a loss of services in places like Darlington has also been taken into account.
The plan was to add around 40 more services a day and run some express trains that called only at York and Newcastle on the journey between London and Scotland.
The engineering work that saw King’s Cross and parts of the mainline closed at weekends over the last few years had led to space for more trains.
LNER, which operates most of them, had said that revising the May 2022 timetable was “central to its plan” of delivering the benefits of billions of pounds in investment, including the new Azuma trains.
According to that email, Network Rail recommended that the new timetable be deferred to May 2023 “or even beyond”.
They were concerned about things such as the power supply issues, cracks in trains (which led to services being withdrawn in May) and negative public reaction to the changes.
Darlington, for example, would see fewer fast trains to London and Sunderland would lose its daily LNER service altogether. Northallerton would swap some LNER trains for CrossCountry ones too.
A spokesperson for the Department for Transport (DfT) told YorkMix:
“We have agreed that the planned introduction of the May 2022 East Coast Main Line timetable change will not go ahead.
“It is vital that the views of passengers and local leaders are heard and reflected in the timetable.
“This decision ensures the lessons of May 2018 are learned, enabling the industry to conduct a full review of its readiness and resolve outstanding issues identified by the industry assurance group.
“The industry will also focus on delivering an improved, achievable new timetable, which fully considers the consultation responses by passengers and local stakeholders and delivers reliable services on the East Coast.”
“We expect the industry to return with proposals that could be implemented in 2023, to ensure passengers see the benefits of the East Coast upgrade.”
Back in May 2018 a new timetable failed to deliver across the North of England leading to chaos for many travellers on various services run by TPE and Northern