Frequently asked questions

 

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Background to the changes

Why is this happening?

What will the impact be for customers?

Travelling to or from Bedford/Luton?

What does this mean for Bedford and Luton customers?

What happens to southbound customers wanting to travel to Bedford and Luton?

I normally carry my bike on East Midlands Trains peak-time services between Bedford/Luton and London. Will Thameslink be carrying full size bikes?

There is currently a big gap in evening train services from London to Kettering and Wellingborough, why is this?

Using the bus between Wellingborough and Bedford?

How often will the bus run and where will it leave from?

How can I claim my 50% bus discount?

Will the bus be fully accessible?

How long will the bus take compared to the train?

Why can’t you provide a train shuttle service rather than the bus between Wellingborough and Bedford?

Fares information

Will there be fares discounts for customers where trains have been moved to accommodate the new Thameslink timetable?

Journey information

Why are some services from Sheffield, Derby, Leicester and Nottingham slower than they are today?

Will the breakfast trains to London be at different times?

How is the weekend timetable affected?

Will there be any impact on local or regional East Midlands Trains services?

Are you planning to make more changes in the December timetable?

Punctuality and reliability

How are East Midlands Trains going to ensure that trains are on time with the additional trains running in the Thameslink timetable?

Derby Resignalling

What is the impact of the Derby Resignalling programme on the May 2018 timetable?

 
 

Why is this happening?


Over £7 billion is being invested to transform north-south travel through London with the Thameslink programme. This will deliver new and more reliable trains with more services at peak times and improved connections. The Thameslink programme will run alongside the biggest upgrade of the Midland Main Line since it was completed in 1870.

In order for the new Thameslink timetable to work effectively, East Midlands Trains services have to be changed. Along with the Department for Transport, Network Rail and GTR, we are doing everything we can to mitigate the impact of these changes. Once complete in 2020, the Midland Main Line upgrade will provide greater capacity on the network and will enable future timetable improvements and more journey time benefits.


What will the impact be for customers?


The changes will mean that some departure times to and from London will change, with some journey times increasing and others decreasing.

The biggest change will be for customers travelling from, to or through Bedford and Luton. Southbound trains arriving into London St Pancras between 0700 and 1000 on weekdays and Northbound trains departing London St Pancras between 1600 and 1900 on weekdays will not call at Bedford or Luton. Services will continue to call at Bedford and Luton outside the peak periods. Services will continue to call at Luton Airport Parkway throughout the day.


What does this mean for Bedford and Luton customers?


Thameslink will continue regular services between Bedford, Luton and London during peak times. Two services an hour during peak times will become fast services with a journey time of under 50 minutes between Bedford and London, calling at Bedford, Luton, St Albans and St Pancras. Many Thameslink trains will be longer with more seats provided at peak times.


What happens to southbound customers wanting to travel to Bedford and Luton?


If you commute during peak hours from Leicestershire and Northamptonshire to Bedford, an alternative, fully accessible bus service will be provided. This will run half-hourly between Wellingborough and Bedford, and connect with rail services at Wellingborough. Season ticket holders travelling on the bus service will be eligible for up to 50% discount on their ticket and there will be up to a 25% reduction on anytime fares for travel on the bus. For more information, contact CSC.manager@eastmidlandstrains.co.uk.


I normally carry my bike on East Midlands Trains peak-time services between Bedford/Luton and London. Will Thameslink be carrying full size bikes?


We will continue to carry full size bikes on our off peak and weekend services from Bedford and Luton to London. Please check Thameslinks cycle policy for details of cycle carriage on their services.


There is currently a big gap in evening train services from London to Kettering and Wellingborough, why is this?


We have listened to customer feedback on this issue and have identified a temporary improvement to apply from the May timetable change for approximately six months. The 2119 London to Nottingham train will now depart at 2105 and call additionally at Luton Airport Parkway, Bedford, Wellingborough and Kettering. Network Rail are processing the change and it will appear in journey planning systems soon. We are looking at a more comprehensive solution to the gap to apply from the December 2018 timetable change.


How often will the bus run and where will it leave from?


The replacement bus service will run every half an hour between Wellingborough and Bedford and is timed to connect in with train services. At Wellingborough, it will depart from the roundabout, just next to Wellingborough station car park and at Bedford, it will leave from the front of the station. The bus will also make additional stops in Bedford Town Centre. The bus timetable will be published on this website shortly.


How can I claim my 50% bus discount?


If you have already bought an annual or monthly season ticket to travel to Bedford and will instead need to travel on the bus, you will be eligible for up to 50% discount on your ticket. Please contact CSC.manager@eastmidlandstrains.co.uk. Tickets bought after the 20th May will automatically have the discount applied.


Will the bus be fully accessible?


The specification for the bus will match current accessibility of the trains.


How long will the bus take compared to the train?


The bus service will take 45 minutes. We anticipate this will add between 25 and 40 minutes to journey times, depending on the specific journey you are making. Some of the bus services will also serve Wellingborough and Bedford town centres.


Why can’t you provide a train shuttle service rather than the bus between Wellingborough and Bedford?


There are currently no spare trains to operate a shuttle service and fitting a shuttle service in between all the other trains is also difficult. We appreciate this change will be extremely inconvenient for these passengers. We will continue to work with the industry to see if an alternative option can be found to reinstate train services at the earliest opportunity. Direct travel will still be possible outside of peak times and those season ticket holders using the replacement coach service will be eligible for up to 50% discount on their season ticket and there will be up to a 25% reduction on anytime fares for travel on the bus.


Will there be fares discounts for customers where trains have been moved to accommodate the new Thameslink timetable?


If you have to travel on the bus service between Wellingborough and Bedford, you will receive up to 50% discount on your season ticket and there will be up to a 25% reduction on anytime fares for travel on the bus.

In addition, as a result of the timing changes, a number of trains leaving London will see cheaper tickets introduced. For example, the new 1901 (was 1857) service from London to Sheffield will offer Super Off Peak tickets instead of Anytime on weekdays – a 60% reduction in ticket price.


Why are some services from Sheffield, Derby, Leicester and Nottingham slower than they are today?


We have had to make some significant changes to our timetable to accommodate the new Thameslink timetable. We have worked hard to produce a timetable that largely protects long distance services, and in some cases we have managed to offer some journey time benefits. We are continuing to work on the timetable to determine whether we can improve journey times any further for the December 2018 timetable.


Will the breakfast trains to London be at different times?


There will be some small changes to the departure and arrival times of breakfast trains. Please check the timetable for full details.


How is the weekend timetable affected?


Services will continue to call at Bedford and Luton throughout the day on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as during weekdays outside of the peak. There will be changes to departure times and journey times from all stations to and from London on Saturdays, and customers are advised to check the weekend timetable for further information. There are very few changes to Sunday services.


Will there be any impact on local or regional East Midlands Trains services?


There will be no impact on local or regional services, although the changes to London services mean that some connections will change and you are advised to check your connections in the new local timetable published soon.


Are you planning to make more changes in the December timetable?


During the off peak times there will continue to be two trains an hour from London to Kettering and Wellingborough, with the exception of departures from London between 2005 and 2130. We are working on resolving this issue as quickly as possible.


How are East Midlands Trains going to ensure that trains are on time with the additional trains running in the Thameslink timetable?


We are proud to have been the UK’s most punctual long distance train operator for over nine years, and that is a record we’d like to keep. We recognise that with Thameslink operating more services on our lines we will need to be even more focused than ever to make sure our trains run on time. Therefore as well as our investment in extra staff, we’ve also got three additional HST trains coming into our fleet to help provide extra resilience for the new timetable. In addition, Network Rail are investing £300m in infrastructure resilience across the Thameslink network to protect and enhance performance.


What is the impact of the Derby Resignalling programme on the May 2018 timetable?


There will be temporary changes to the timetable as a result of the Derby Resignalling programme from 22 July to 7 October. For more information, visit derby2018.co.uk. This work will affect services between London and Derby and Sheffield, as well as local and regional connecting services at Derby. We are expecting to run a normal mainline timetable between London and Corby/Leicester/Nottingham throughout this period.