Commuters urged to check schedules amid train timetable chaos

Rail commuters were left furious today as services suffered cancellations and delays on the first weekday of the new winter timetable in Britain.

Staff shortages, signalling problems, a landslip and ongoing industrial action were among the issues this morning affecting passengers across the country.

The major shake-up included introducing non-stop trains between London and Bristol as well as 1,000 more services a week across the country. 

Sarah Evans from Cardiff was upset with the new Transport for Wales services, saying: 'Great new timetable change with the 7.24am from Pontypridd. Reduce four carriages down to two. This was the only train that wasn’t standing room only in the morning from Ponty. Now this'

Sarah Evans from Cardiff was upset with the new Transport for Wales services, saying: 'Great new timetable change with the 7.24am from Pontypridd. Reduce four carriages down to two. This was the only train that wasn’t standing room only in the morning from Ponty. Now this'

Sarah Evans from Cardiff was upset with the new Transport for Wales services, saying: ‘Great new timetable change with the 7.24am from Pontypridd. Reduce four carriages down to two. This was the only train that wasn’t standing room only in the morning from Ponty. Now this’

Great Western Railway commuter Bruce Melizan said there was 'barely any standing room on the 6.48am from Twyford', adding: 'Train also late and arrived on the wrong platform'

Great Western Railway commuter Bruce Melizan said there was 'barely any standing room on the 6.48am from Twyford', adding: 'Train also late and arrived on the wrong platform'

Great Western Railway commuter Bruce Melizan said there was ‘barely any standing room on the 6.48am from Twyford’, adding: ‘Train also late and arrived on the wrong platform’

But some trains operated by Northern Rail were cancelled due to a shortage of drivers, with affected services including between Blackpool North and Manchester Airport, Leeds to York and Sheffield, and Darlington to Saltburn.

Commuter Rich Swales posted a picture of a board at Leeds train station showing a cancellation, joking that the ‘new timetable schedule is working just fine’.

Transpennine Express had 24 cancellations listed for throughout the day due to a shortage of crew or train faults.

Affected services included those linking Manchester Airport with Edinburgh and Newcastle, and trains from Liverpool Lime Street to Scarborough. 

Passengers on Great Western Railway faced cancellations, delays and fewer trains between Reading and London Paddington due to a signalling fault at Maidenhead. 

Ruth Starling tweeted to Great Western Railway: 'New timetable working well. Half the trains from Swindon running late and standing room only from Reading'

Ruth Starling tweeted to Great Western Railway: 'New timetable working well. Half the trains from Swindon running late and standing room only from Reading'

Ruth Starling tweeted to Great Western Railway: ‘New timetable working well. Half the trains from Swindon running late and standing room only from Reading’

Commuter Rich Swales posted this picture at Leeds train station, tweeting Northern Rail to say the 'new timetable schedule is working just fine'

Commuter Rich Swales posted this picture at Leeds train station, tweeting Northern Rail to say the 'new timetable schedule is working just fine'

Commuter Rich Swales posted this picture at Leeds train station, tweeting Northern Rail to say the ‘new timetable schedule is working just fine’

Another commuter posted this image of a cancellation on a Great Western Railway train to London Paddington this morning, saying: 'Timetable is off to an amazing start already'

Another commuter posted this image of a cancellation on a Great Western Railway train to London Paddington this morning, saying: 'Timetable is off to an amazing start already'

Another commuter posted this image of a cancellation on a Great Western Railway train to London Paddington this morning, saying: ‘Timetable is off to an amazing start already’

GWR commuter Bruce Melizan said there was ‘barely any standing room on the 6.48am from Twyford’, adding: ‘Train also late and arrived on the wrong platform.’

UK train operators hit by problems today

Northern Rail: Trains have been cancelled due to a shortage of drivers, with affected services including between Blackpool North and Manchester Airport, Leeds to York and Sheffield, and Darlington to Saltburn.

Transpennine Express: Some 24 cancellations listed for throughout the day due to a shortage of crew or train faults. Affected services include those linking Manchester Airport with Edinburgh and Newcastle, and trains from Liverpool Lime Street to Scarborough.

Great Western Railway: Cancellations, delays and fewer trains between Reading and London Paddington due to a signalling fault at Maidenhead.

South Western Railway: Fewer trains, earlier finishes and some replacement buses due to strike action by the RMT union which is running until January 2.

And passenger Ruth Starling tweeted to GWR: ‘New timetable working well. Half the trains from Swindon running late and standing room only from Reading.’

Due to strike action by the RMT union, travellers on South Western Railway (SWR) have been warned of fewer trains, earlier finishes and some replacement buses.

Services are expected to be affected every day throughout December until January 2, with the industrial action now into its third week.

Elsewhere on the SWR network, a landslip between Epsom in Surrey and Motspur Park in south-west London left all lines between the two stations blocked.

The disruption was expected to last until the end of the day, with services being altered and replacement buses running.

Cardiff-based commuter Sarah Evans was upset with the new Transport for Wales services, saying: ‘Great new timetable change with the 7.24am from Pontypridd. 

‘Reduce four carriages down to two. This was the only train that wasn’t standing room only in the morning from Ponty. Now this.’ 

Lindsay Robertson from Dunfermline tweeted this picture of delays on a departure board at Rosyth station in Scotland this morning, saying: 'New timetable, same problems, ScotRail'

Lindsay Robertson from Dunfermline tweeted this picture of delays on a departure board at Rosyth station in Scotland this morning, saying: 'New timetable, same problems, ScotRail'

Lindsay Robertson from Dunfermline tweeted this picture of delays on a departure board at Rosyth station in Scotland this morning, saying: ‘New timetable, same problems, ScotRail’

HR worker Sandeep is unimpressed by the Great Western Railway service this morning

HR worker Sandeep is unimpressed by the Great Western Railway service this morning

HR worker Sandeep is unimpressed by the Great Western Railway service this morning

Industry groups had previously promised more services, shorter journeys and new routes becoming possible across the country under the new timetable.

These would include the first non-stop trains between London and Bristol in decades, plus 1,000 extra services each week, according to the Rail Delivery Group.

RDG said the industry had put ‘years of work into drafting, consulting and planning’ for the changes.

But teething problems were evident when the new timetable came into effect yesterday, with Great Western Railway and Transport for Wales reporting a slew of cancellations and delays. 

One Twitter user wrote yesterday: ‘I was promised more frequent, faster trains from Bristol to London. I look at the timetable and 40 per cent of [Great Western Railway’s] services have been cancelled.’ 

Another added: ‘Brand new timetable and the first train is cancelled. What an absolute joke.’

Train timetables are changed twice a year, in May and December.

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.

Robert Nisbet, of the RDG, urged passengers to check journey details in advance because many times are changing.

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