Aylesbury Vale commuters travelling from Cheddington face cuts to train services from Monday

Operator LNWR says new timetable will boost reliability overall

Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 8:37 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 8:38 am
Fewer London Northwestern services will stop at Cheddington from Monday

Fewer trains will stop at Cheddington from Monday (March 2) as London Northwestern Railway bosses start a raft of timetable changes more than two months early in a bid to improve performance.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps gave the operator an ultimatum to cut delays and cancellations or face being stripped of their franchise to operate services between London and the Midlands.

And LNWR believe cutting the number of northbound off-peak journeys stopping at Cheddington by HALF will boost reliability on the network overall.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Trains heading towards Birmingham will stop every hour instead of half-hourly between 8am and 5pm.

The cuts are due to last for 11 weeks, until the new timetable is introduced in May. But LNWR gave no indication if the services will be re-instated after that.

LNWR has pinned hopes on a major rewrite of their problematic timetable in May. But some of the planned changes will now be up and running on Monday.

The operator says scheduled timing of trains will be unaffected but cutting out stops at Cheddington from Monday and north of Birmingham after March 16 should improve reliability on services to and from London Euston.

A spokesman for LNWR said: "Due to the complexity of the planning processes involved, changes to railway timetables can usually only be made twice each year, in mid-May and mid-December.

"However, as part of our improvement plan to improve reliability, the operator has won the agreement of Network Rail to make a number of important alterations starting from next Monday.

"These changes will build on improvements made in December 2019 and will lay the groundwork for more substantial alterations in May 2020."

LNWR's parent company West Midlands Trains launched a major recruitment drive after a shortage of drivers and conductors caused issues with the May 2019 timetable.

And a planned refurbishment programme was halted earlier this month in an attempt to solve problems issues surrounding the reliability of its 16-year-old rolling stock while a fleet of 225 new carriages is being built in Derby.

Cancellations on the route are down 80 per cent and the number of trains arriving on time has risen from 68.1 per cent in November to 83.1 per cent last month according to the industry-standard Public Performance Measure.

London Northwestern managing director Julian Edwards said: "Negotiating to bring these amendments forward by more than two months has not been easy but improving the experience for our passengers as quickly as possible is our top priority."