Chiltern Railways’ new winter timetable came into effect on 10 December 2017. The new timetable runs until 19 May 2018.
I could only see minor changes affecting trains through Bicester but there are still some notable improvements.
- The last train from Marylebone to Bicester Village and Oxford now leaves later on weekday evenings. The extra train leaves 50 minutes later Mondays to Thursdays with two extra trains on Fridays, the last one being 2 hours later.
- There is an earlier first train on a Sunday from Bicester North to Marylebone.
- First train departs Bicester North at 0803 arriving at Marylebone 0923.
- There are some weekday evening peak improvements on the Oxford to Marylebone route giving more choice to places like High Wycombe.
- An extra service at 1600 from Marylebone to Oxford (1710)
- An extra departure at 1654 from Oxford.
Later Last Trains
On Mondays to Thursdays* the last train now leaves London 50 minutes later. It is timed to depart at 0001 – note a day return ticket is valid for travel up until 0429 the next day. *(Although it is after midnight and actually the next day, operationally this is part of the Monday to Thursday service).
On Fridays this train leaves slightly later at 0010 arriving Bicester Village 0106. Then the last train from Marylebone departs 0110 arriving 0211.
Peak Service Improvements
An extra service runs Mondays to Fridays at 1600 from Marylebone calling at Gerrards Cross, Beaconsfield, High Wycombe, Bicester Village (1652), Oxford Parkway (1700) and Oxford (1710).
There is now an extra return service at 1654 from Oxford replacing a train which started at Oxford Parkway. This train stops at Oxford Parkway (1703), Bicester Village (1720 – NB arrives 9 minutes earlier at 1711) then High Wycombe, Gerrards Cross, Denham, South Ruislip, Wembley Stadium and Marylebone (1826). This train runs 7 minutes earlier than previously between Oxford Parkway and Bicester Village but continues with timings as before to London. It fills a gap in the evening service between Oxford and High Wycombe.
These changes are welcome and fix most of my niggles.
Another change from January is that bikes will no longer be allowed Mondays to Fridays on the busiest peak hour trains arriving in Oxford between 0745 and 1000 and leaving from 1630 to 1930. Similar restrictions already apply at Marylebone and Birmingham Moor Street.
Subject to space being available, and at the discretion of staff, you can take bikes (except tandems) on any Chiltern Railways train on Saturdays, Sundays or Public Holidays. There are no restrictions on fully folded folding bikes.
This year the Winter timetable does not begin on GWR until 1 January 2018. This is later than the rest of the railway being the date that electric trains commence running local services between Didcot, Reading and London Paddington. New bi-mode IET trains begin to appear on fast services through Oxford to Worcester and Hereford.
The new Class 387 electric trains will provide a big improvement in capacity and comfort on Thames Valley local services. But not everyone will be pleased. Users of stopping services to Paddington may require a change at Didcot from January because the electrification does not yet extend to Oxford.
More details to follow.