Disruption hits first day of train timetable overhaul as commuters urged to check schedules

The first day of a major new train timetable overhaul was hit by disruption as rail commuters were warned to check their journey details on their way to work on Monday morning.

Industry body Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has sought to reassure passengers over the new timetable, saying the industry had put “years of work into drafting, consulting and planning” for the changes.

But despite their assurances, some teething problems were in evidence when the new timetable came into effect on Sunday, with Great Western Railway and Transport for Wales reporting a slew of cancellations and delays.

Industry groups have promised more services, shorter journeys and new routes becoming possible across the country owing to the alterations.

This will include the first non-stop trains running between London and Bristol in decades, plus 1,000 extra services each week, according the (RDG).

Robert Nisbet, RDG’s director of nations and regions, has urged passengers to check their journey details in advance as many times are changing.

“Train operators and Network Rail will be working together to run a reliable service and respond quickly to any teething problems as people get used to the change,” Mr Nisbet said.

The infamous, botched change of May 2018 led to chaos, and passenger watchdog Transport Focus said travellers would be hoping for a smoother introduction with the latest changes.

Train timetables are changed twice a year, in May and December but the latest amendments represent the most comprehensive timetable change on the Great Western Railway network since the 1970s, taking advantage of Network Rail’s electrification of the line between London and Bristol, and the operator’s new intercity express trains.

Non-stop trains between London Paddington and Bristol Parkway will have journey times as short as one hour and eight minutes, shaving 12 minutes off the existing quickest services.

Major improvements are also being promised on the ScotRail network, with additional services in north-east Scotland and extra seats between Edinburgh and Glasgow.