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Gradual introduction of Thameslink services

Thameslink

When the timetable changed on 20 May, Thameslink introduced new direct services between Luton and Rainham, and Luton and Orpington, affecting passengers travelling from some of our stations.
Thameslink operational problems have since caused many late notice cancellations and amendments to the new services.

From 15 July Thameslink are introducing a new interim timetable with a reduced service that matches their available resources (drivers and trains) and will mean the advertised service is much more reliable. This interim timetable will apply until further notice.

For full details please go to the Thameslink website

Frequently asked questions

What has changed?

On 20 May 2018, Govia Thameslink Railway introduced entirely new timetables on Thameslink, Southern, Gatwick Express and Great Northern. This is part of RailPlan 20/20, a programme to modernise services on some of the busiest sections of the country’s rail network. 

This included a new direct Thameslink route between Luton and Rainham (via Greenwich) and between Luton and Orpington, doubling frequencies at stations on the Catford Loop line. 

These services will use a fleet of 115 new trains brought in to increase capacity to respond to the phenomenal growth in passenger numbers.

What is the new Thameslink service on the north Kent route to Rainham/Medway towns?

This is a new service providing new direct services through the core of London to London Bridge, Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon, St Pancras International and to Luton Airport, as well as improved connections. It replaces the old Southeastern Gillingham to Charing Cross service.

Up to two trains per hour will operate direct between Luton and Rainham in the following calling pattern: Luton, Luton Airport Parkway, Harpenden, St Albans City, Radlett, Elstree & Borehamwood, Mill Hill Broadway, West Hampstead Thameslink, London St Pancras International, Farringdon, City Thameslink, London Blackfriars, London Bridge, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill, Westcombe Park, Charlton, Woolwich Arsenal, Plumstead, Abbey Wood, Slade Green, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe, Swanscombe, Northfleet, Gravesend, Higham, Strood, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham and Rainham.

The interim timetable from 15 July reduces this service to one train per hour at most times, with some late night trains between Dartford and Rainham replaced by buses.

Download the Thameslink London to Rainham timetable from 15 July

What is the new Thameslink service on the Orpington line via the Catford loop?

As well as two trains per hour to Sevenoaks, the May timetable featured two trains per hour to Orpington on Mondays to Saturdays, doubling the frequency on the Catford loop line to four trains per hour. 
 
Trains call at West Hampstead, Kentish Town (off peak), London St Pancras International, Farringdon, City Thameslink, London Blackfriars, Elephant & Castle, Denmark Hill, Peckham Rye, Nunhead, Crofton Park, Catford, Bellingham, Beckenham Hill, Ravensbourne, Shortlands, Bromley South, Bickley, Petts Wood and Orpington.
 
During Monday to Friday peak periods trains also serve Luton, Luton Airport Parkway, Harpenden, St Albans City, Radlett, Elstree & Borehamwood , Mill Hill Broadway and West Hampstead Thameslink.

For the duration of the interim timetable from 15 July the new Orpington service will only run at peak times on Mondays to Fridays, with no Thameslink service to Orpington off-peak or on Saturdays. 

When will online journey planners be correct?

Journey planners are now correct for the 15 July timetables. If you are travelling overnight or at weekends, information on engineering work alterations may not be available until the day before the timetable operates. We strongly recommend that you recheck your journey at nationalrail.co.uk shortly before you travel on Thameslink services. 

What is being done to reduce the impact of cancellations?

Thameslink have arranged buses and taxis at key locations to cover any significant gaps in the train service. These arrangements will remain until further notice. 

What is being done to fill the gaps in service at Higham?

The services removed will leave some significant train service gaps at Higham. 
 
Customers for intermediate stations via Dartford will be able to change at Gravesend and customers for London Bridge will be able to use Thameslink services to/from London St Pancras.
 
We've put in place the following arrangements - 
 
A replacement bus service is in place between Higham and Strood / Gravesend, as an alternative for when there are long gaps in the timetable.
 
If you hold a ticket from either Higham or Strood, you’ll be able to use your ticket on our High speed services to and from St Pancras at no extra charge.
 
We’re running an additional early morning service from Higham to London Victoria, leaving at 05:43. 

What is being done at Eynsford and Shoreham

As a more reliable Thameslink service will be in operation from 15 July, we will no longer be making additional stops at these stations. 

Will my ticket be accepted on High speed services?

Passengers from Higham and Strood can use non-High speed tickets on Southeastern High speed services from Sunday 20 May until further notice. These ticket acceptance arrangements will be in place at all times of the day. 

What is Southeastern doing to support Thameslink passengers?

To support GTR with the introduction of their timetable, we have:

  • Training - Supported GTR’s driver training programme, by training extra drivers on their behalf at our training school
  • Drivers - Rostered around 25 Southeastern drivers each day to drive Thameslink trains. 80% of our Class 700-trained drivers are covering Thameslink routes
  • Buses - Coordinated rail replacement bus services from stations with a reduced Thameslink service
  • Depots – Provided “pilot” drivers to move Thameslink trains into our depots and sidings
  • Extra services – Started some services from different stations to cover missing first trains, and used a Southeastern train to replace a Thameslink service that wouldn’t otherwise have run, by delaying some planned maintenance
  • Extra stops - Introduced extra stops on Southeastern services wherever possible without causing additional delays or overcrowding – including services through Crofton Park and Bellingham, Shoreham and Eynsford, Gravesend and Higham
  • Extra staff - Provided 25 extra staff a day at Southeastern stations with GTR services
  • Ticket acceptance - Accepted passengers’ tickets on our Highspeed services where Thameslink services haven’t run and there is no alternative route
  • Passenger information - Enhanced GTR communications through our own social media and passenger information channels 
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