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great northen logoShortly before the introduction of the winter timetable, which will see more trains serving Palmers Green, the operator of the Great Northern rail franchise, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), has been heavily criticised in a report by the House of Commons Transport Committee regarding the chaotic situation arising from the flawed implementation of timetable improvements in May.  Despite this, the Department for Transport (DfT) is not heeding calls for the service to be transferred to Transport for London.  However, it will require GTR to contribute £15m towards improvements in services for rail passengers.  The BBC is inviting passengers to suggest how this money should be spent.

The DfT justifies the decision to retain the contract as follows:

A termination of the franchise would cause further and undue disruption for passengers and is not an appropriate course of action.

This weekend sees the start of the winter timetable, when some of the extra services that GTR attempted to introduce in May will be restored.  The Great Northern timetables page on their website has links to downloadable timetables and some information about future changes.

The good news for Palmers Green residents is that on Mondays to Fridays the daytime and evening offpeak service will revert to four trains an hour, at consistent 15-minute frequencies.  The full timetable is available here.

On Saturday and Sundays there will still be a half-hourly service (in practice, a service consisting of intervals sometimes of half an hour, sometimes of an hour, depending on which trains are cancelled).  However, an improved weekend service is in prospect:

We are planning to introduce additions to the weekend service in May 2019 and further increases at future timetable changes. Further details will be shared once the final timetables have been determined and agreed with industry partners.

The FAQ section of the timetables page states that GTR has "enough" drivers and that at each depot a number of spare drivers are rostered each day.  Nevertheless, this does "not mean" that they "will not have cancellations due to a ‘lack of a drivers’".

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