True stories from the Great Railway Disaster No 21: so you want a timetable

A weekly chronicle of the absurdities caused by the Government's privatisation programme
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THE new BR timetable came into force at the end of May and seems to have given the various train operating companies a great opportunity to restrict the amount of information offered on "rival" train services.

The pocket timetable for trains heading north out of Newcastle, for example, used to show the service between Newcastle and Berwick with both InterCity and Regional Railways trains. Now, however, RR North East has issued the timetable showing trains to Chathill, which is the northern limit of its area, even though all the trains go on to Berwick. RR North East has also unaccountably missed out the stopping trains between Selby and Leeds on its Hull-to-Leeds timetable.

Reg French, of the local rail users' group, suspects that this is because the slower trains are run with the help of a grant from the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, while the other trains are paid entirely by RR.

Andy Brabin, of Wandsworth Friends of the Earth, reports that timetables of all trains leaving Clapham Junction have now become impossible to obtain. There are three companies running services there, South West, SouthCentral and North London. Mr Brabin says: "South West Trains, which operates the ticket office, had its timetables available. However, SouthCentral and North London timetables were nowhere to be seen."

And according to Dr Paul Baker, of Bournemouth, South West Trains' timetable for the Bournemouth-to-Southampton service now no longer details trains between Bournemouth and Gatwick operated by SouthCentral and those between Bournemouth and Manchester or Edinburgh run by InterCity Cross Country. Instead, it only lists the services run by South West Trains.