The Anonymous Widower

Gibb Report – Too Many Off Peak Services

The title of this post is a sub-title in the Gibb Report

The section starts like this.

Generally I do believe there are too many lightly loaded off peak services on the GTR network, and this means the system is unable to recover quickly from any incident. The system should be robust enough to mean that the service can recover fully from any concluded incident before 1400, to run a full and punctual service from 1600 onwards. This is impossible with the current timetable. It is clear to me that the three previously competing operators deliberately filled up every off peak path, to stop the other operators running additional services and receiving a larger income allocation through ORCATS. I can see no sign of any rationalisation of the contractual obligations occurring prior to the letting of the current franchise, so all the competing services were amalgamated into the new franchise obligations.

This is also said.

The timetable is based on the assumption that almost every station on the GTR network must have regular direct trains to London, at all times of the day. In addition to provide 12 car trains on the busiest sections, principally Horsham / Haywards Heath – London Bridge / Victoria, trains from the “country” couple up at places like Horsham, Haywards Heath and Redhill. This is fine in theory, but results in a complex timetable and plan, with multiple potential failure points. I have noted that stakeholders on each route are unwilling to lose any through services to London, irrespective of the benefits to the overall system. There is no easy short term solution.

Chris Gibb makes some suggestions including a “firebreak” in the middle of the day that enables services to recover for the evening peak.


It looks a bit of a mess.

July 13, 2017 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | ,


  1. […] Too Many Off Peak Services […]

    Pingback by Reading The Gibbs Report « The Anonymous Widower | July 13, 2017 | Reply

  2. Campaigning for fewer trains – the politics of that could be tricky – remember how fondly Dr. Beeching is remembered…

    Comment by Mark Clayton | July 13, 2017 | Reply

  3. I think some suburban areas of Manchester would love the four trains per hour Chris Gibbs is thinking of. That would be reduced from six trains per hour.

    I think the London Overground and Merseyrail have shown that four train per hour is optimum.

    Comment by AnonW | July 13, 2017 | Reply

  4. […] In the Gibbs Report, one of the things that Chris Gibbs says is that there are too many Off Peak services. […]

    Pingback by Walking Between Wandsworth Common And Clapham Junction Stations « The Anonymous Widower | August 8, 2017 | Reply

  5. […] Too many off peak services […]

    Pingback by Good News For Southern Rail Users « The Anonymous Widower | November 24, 2017 | Reply

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