In partnership with Network Rail and the Department for Transport, we have launched a stakeholder consultation on proposals for our December 2022 timetable. This is a strategic review of future service levels across our network.
We are acutely aware that in the past we have responded to ever growing customer demand by increasing the number of trains on the SWR network, often at the expense of the performance and reliability of our services. But, as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, we have a unique opportunity to build back a better railway for the future.
Since March 2020, we have been supported by the Government to run a reduced service that has kept key workers moving. This period has shown that our performance improves significantly when we are able to run fewer trains while still meeting customer demand for our services.
Even though passengers are now returning to the railways, all the forecasts suggest they will not return to pre-Covid levels for the foreseeable future. The December 2022 timetable is our opportunity to plan for a long-term timetable that will retain the reliability improvements we’ve made, meet the forecast demand and provide value for the taxpayer while balancing other local and national priorities.
We are considering a specification for services rather than specific trains or a timetable. It is for that reason that we are consulting with a defined set of organisations, which have a strategic or representative role rather than the wider community. This includes all MPs and district and county councillors across our network, as well as passenger groups amongst others.
You can find out more about our plans by reviewing our consultation document (PDF, 2MB), which sets out the context to our approach, details of the proposed specification of services, and more information about the consultation. If you have any questions, you can email us at email@example.com.