South Western Railways restores previous timetable

A DIRECT train between Weymouth and London Waterloo is returning after South Western Railway announced it would reinstate the pre-Omicron timetable.

From Monday February 21, the train operator will return to its previous services, meaning commuters traveling to the capital will no longer have to change at Bournemouth.

South Western Railway (SWR) says improved staff availability means they can increase the number of trains they run without compromising reliability.

SWR Managing Director Claire Mann said: “It has been a difficult time for our railway and the customers it serves, with significant staff shortages that have left us with no choice but to to temporarily reduce our schedule last month.

“With staff availability constantly improving, we are pleased to be able to announce this improvement, which will essentially see service levels return to what they were before the spread of Omicron.

“More and more people are returning to our railroad, and this schedule will ensure that we match capacity and demand while providing reliability for customers.”

The timetable will be almost identical to that which served customers in December, meaning a host of services, including direct trains to and from Weymouth to London Waterloo, will be restored.

In addition to services from Exeter to London, which also previously had direct trains cut.

However, a small number of services which operated in December 2021 are not restored as SWR says they aim to ‘effectively match capacity with demand’, however these differences do not impact Dorset .

These services are the 07:38 from Southampton Central to Waterloo, the 05:02 from London Waterloo to Guildford, the 07:00 from Shepperton to Waterloo and the 08:15 from Waterloo to Waterloo (via Hounslow).

Previously, South Western Railway introduced a temporary timetable in response to staff absences caused by the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The rail operator said it was ‘ensuring customer reliability during a difficult time’ and the timetable’s return ‘raising is timely as more and more people are returning to the railway following the lifting of government instructions home”.

Details of the new timetable can be found via the South Western Railway timeline.

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