South Western Railway is proposing to permanently remove some services from its timetable from December 2022 as it seeks to ‘build back a better railway’ post-Covid.
The operator has launched a consultation on a proposed timetable structure which it says seeks to balance performance, forecast demand and value for the taxpayer. The move follows the start of SWR’s National Rail Contract with the Department for Transport, which began in May, and also coincides with publication of the South West main line study.
SWR points out that performance has improved through the pandemic when fewer services have operated. It also cites research which suggests overall passenger demand will return to around 76% of pre-pandemic levels and commuter demand to just 60%. The proposed timetable provides 93% of pre-Covid capacity, which SWR says gives headroom for additional growth in future.