South Western Railway update on the December 2020 timetable

Dear Nikki,

I wanted to write to you to provide an update on our plans regarding our timetable from 13 December 2020.

In October SWR informed our stakeholders about our plans to increase services from 13 December 2020. The decision to increase our services was made earlier this year, at a time when we were seeing a steady increase in passenger numbers.

However, since I wrote to you, the nation has entered a second lockdown and from tomorrow we will again be entering a tiered system of restrictions. As you will appreciate, these measures have had an impact on our passenger numbers both current and forecasted.

In light of this, with the permission of the Department for Transport, we have taken the decision to “rollover” our weekday timetable from 13 December 2020 to 26 March 2021. We believe this is the right decision for our business and the taxpayer, who through the Government have been supporting the rail industry throughout this pandemic.

To summarise our timetable from 13 December 2020:

Weekdays – SWR will continue to operate the same timetable that has been running since early September 2020, subject to final approval by Network Rail and planned engineering works, particularly over the Festive Period.

Weekends – Some weekend timetables will still change to reflect patterns in demand and to accommodate planned engineering works, so we are advising our customers to check before they travel.

I hope you will appreciate the scale of the challenge posed by the fast-moving situation presented by COVID-19 as we try to keep our passengers informed of changes in a timely manner. Please rest assured that my colleagues at SWR and Network Rail are working hard to ensure journey planning systems are up to date with the latest information.

While weekday services should be correct through to March 2021, we are working closely to ensure that planned engineering works during the festive period and weekend changes are reflected in the system. We are confident the journey planners will be fully updated by 5 December 2020, although weekend timetables will be subject to change up to 4 weeks in advance of travel.

More information on our current and future timetable can be found at:        

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Hopwood
Managing Director
South Western Railway