Press release 1st July 2021

New East Coast rail timetable will bring worse services for thousands of passengers

– “A missed opportunity” says UK’s national rail campaign group

A new rail timetable to be introduced in May 2022 will cut services at rail stations on the route between London and Edinburgh. Many passengers will see fewer train services and will be forced to change trains more often.

The new timetable has been devised by the rail industry following considerable government investment in the East Coast Main Line.Millions of pounds have been spent on the line, which will see a reduction in some journey times between London and Edinburgh of 15 minutes.

But the small time saving means many stations will suffer reduced train frequencies and inadequate services to connect local and regional stations. Cuts include:
  • Hourly Edinburgh–Liverpool via York service withdrawn between Edinburgh and Newcastle.
  • Hourly Newcastle–Manchester Airport withdrawn between Newcastle and York, introducing an additional change of trains for airport passengers, often carrying heavy luggage.
  • Infrequent train services at Dunbar, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Alnmouth, Morpeth and Cramlington
  • Reduced train service connecting Darlington with Durham.
  • Complete loss of service between Newark and Retford (Train operator LNER is advising passengers between these stations will need to`double-back’ by travelling in the opposite direction via Doncaster)
The new timetable will also affect local services on other routes; for example, many cross-Newcastle direct journeys will no longer be possible, necessitating an additional change of trains for many visitors to the Metro Centre.

“We think the focus on cutting 15minutes from a London-Edinburgh journey time of four hours is a big mistake” said Bruce Williamson from the campaign group Railfuture.”The time saving comes at the expense of local and regional services and this will have a significant impact on communities along the route. Furthermore, the brand-new trains have superior on-train comfort, catering and on board wi-fi, so the time saving is really doesn’t matter so much.”

“More than 30 extra long-distance train services will operate every day from May 2022, yet for many passengers their service will actually be getting worse. The May 2022East Coast Main Line timetable is a missed opportunity. It fails to address the needs of towns and cities along the route and it goes against the government’s `Build Back Better’ and `levelling-up ’agendas.”

“People rely on the train to get to work, got to college, access health services, and to make business or leisure journeys. Adequate local and regional train services areessential to those journeys.”

“The government has invested millions of pounds of public money in this line over the last few years. The new timetable must deliver the maximum return on that investment, both in terms of social and economic benefits.”

Notes to editors:

Railfuture is the UK's leading independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for both passengers and freight.

Railfuture's website can be found at: www.railfuture.org.uk

Follow Railfuture on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Railfuture

For further information and comment please contact:
Bruce Williamson, media spokesman
Tel: 0117 927 2954 Mobile: 07759 557389
media at railfuture.org.uk