Page last updated at 00:01 GMT, Monday, 8 December 2008

More and faster trains promised

Commuters on train
Many commuters face an increase in their train fares from 2 January

Rail passengers across Britain will benefit from almost 700 extra services a day on weekdays when a new timetable begins next week, train operators say.

The Association of Train Operating Companies said weekday services would increase by 3.4%, including some faster and longer trains.

Customer watchdog Passenger Focus said it welcomed the imminent completion of the West Coast Main Line upgrade.

But the move comes as fares are due to rise on average by 6% from 2 January.

Michael Roberts, Atoc's chief executive, said rail companies would be operating 265,000 more trains a year from Sunday in England, Scotland and Wales.

That figure includes an extra 5.2% more services on Saturdays and an extra 7.6% on Sundays.

Many services would be faster and feature longer trains, he added, and the completion of a multi-billion pound upgrade would mean faster journeys on the London to Scotland West Coast main line.

"The new timetable is a clear demonstration that the railway industry continues to add value for passengers," he said.

"The improvements will be felt by people in many parts of the country, whether they are regular commuters or occasional travellers on the main inter-city routes."

New stations

Other improvements will include the opening of four new stations during the timetable period - Aylesbury Vale Parkway, Buckinghamshire; Corby, Northamptonshire; East Midlands Parkway, Nottinghamshire; and Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire.

Eight additional towns and cities are also to be linked by direct services to London: Alsager, Cheshire; Atherstone, Warwickshire; Corby; Ivybridge, Devon; Lincoln; and Rugeley, Stone and Kidsgrove, all in Staffordshire.

Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus's chief executive, said that travellers would welcome shorter journey times and less overcrowding as a result of the West Coast Main Line upgrade.

"Passengers tell us that additional trains, punctual services and an end to overcrowding are their top priorities," he said.

"The successful delivery of the most frequent inter-city rail service in Europe for passengers travelling to the north west will go a long way to compensate passengers' tolerance during engineering work."


Proposed changes from 2 January 2009

Train company Avge regulated rise Avge unregulated rise
Arriva Trains Wales 6% 6%
c2c 6% 6%
Chiltern Railways 6% 7.50%
CrossCountry 6% 11%
East Midlands Trains 6% 7.40%
First Capital Connect 6% 9%
First Great Western 6% 6.60%
First ScotRail 6% 6%
First TransPennine Express 6% 6.40%
London Midland 6% 0%
Merseyrail 5% 5%
National Express East Anglia 6% 6%
National Express East Coast 6% 7.40%
Northern Rail 6% 7%
Southeastern 8% 6%
Southern 6% 6%
South West Trains 6% 7.20%
Virgin Trains 6% 7%
Average 6% 7%

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