The proposed May 2022 timetable change on the East Coast main line, on which a consultation closed earlier in August, has been postponed until at least 2023.
As reported exclusively in Modern Railways, on 26 July Network Rail circulated a letter recommending the timetable change be deferred due to a series of concerns around infrastructure, rolling stock, performance and adverse feedback to the recent consultation. The changes were intended to take advantage of the introduction of LNER’s new Azuma fleet and infrastructure works to increase capacity on the ECML as part of the £1.2 billion East Coast upgrade.
A DfT spokesperson said: ‘We have agreed that the planned introduction of the May 2022 East Coast main line timetable change will not go ahead. It is vital that the views of passengers and local leaders are heard and reflected in the timetable.
‘This decision ensures the lessons of May 2018 are learned, enabling the industry to conduct a full review of its readiness and resolve outstanding issues identified by the industry assurance group.
‘The industry will also focus on delivering an improved, achievable new timetable, which fully considers the consultation responses by passengers and local stakeholders and delivers reliable services on the East Coast.’
DfT added that it expected the industry to ‘return with proposals that could be implemented in 2023, to ensure passengers see the benefits of the East Coast upgrade’.
For full details of the reasons behind the now confirmed deferral of the May 2022 timetable change, see Roger Ford’s ‘Informed Sources’ article, available now for subscribers.