2003-2004

Its all gone Pete Tong!

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INTRODUCTION:

Operation Princess was to be a big step to far for Virgin XC, delays overcrowding and complaints galore saw them retrench the service. Many locations lost there service completely.

The Brighton line services were cut by 2/3rds and was now worse than back in 1979.

 

Article from Virgin trains Mediaroom, 16/01/2003 (South).

Virgin Trains restructures CrossCountry - Southern region

VIRGIN Trains and the Strategic Rail Authority today announced changes to the Virgin Cross-Country timetable to help focus and develop the service and improve performance.

Following timetable adjustments already made, Virgin Trains will complete the restructuring on 18 May with more comprehensive alterations to the service to maintain frequency on core routes and to provide more seats on principal long distance trains for the summer.

Five coach Super Voyager trains will take priority on services between Bournemouth, Scotland via Manchester and Newcastle.

The company’s introduction last September of a restructured and high frequency Cross-Country service provided by state-of-the-art Voyager trains has attracted a welcome 40 per cent increase in passenger volume compared to one year ago.

Popularity of the service has, regrettably, been marred by cancellations, overcrowding and poor punctuality, and this has highlighted the need to refocus Cross-Country as a long distance rather than regional and local passenger operation. Also, Voyager trains have proved to be more than twice as reliable as their predecessors, but need their planned quality maintenance time to keep them on top form.

 

Note to Editors:

Service alterations in the south will include: Services to/from Brighton will be reduced to two southbound and one northbound. A secondary service will start at Gatwick Airport. We still aim to provide an hourly service to/from Gatwick Airport when paths become available. The 14:38 Bournemouth to Edinburgh, the 15:38 Bournemouth to Glasgow and the 16:38 Bournemouth to Manchester services will call at Oxford to pick up only. Customers wishing to alight at Oxford will need to change at Reading. The 13:38 Bournemouth to Newcastle and the 14:38 Bournemouth to Edinburgh will call at Coventry to set down only. Some Bournemouth to Scotland services will no longer call at Banbury or Leamington Spa.

Virgin Trains will no longer serve Portsmouth, Paddington, Poole, Didcot Parkway or Solihull.  A half hourly service between Birmingham New Street – Oxford – Reading will be maintained.


TIMETABLE and ROUTE:

As you can see the service has been decimated with just two train each way including Sundays. Even with this minimal service why on earth does the lunchtime arrival in Brighton not return north. It would appear to stable at Three Bridges for the next morning, if so what a waste of resources.

Monday to Saturday the northbound services both ran via Kensington Olympia, I think they were still routed via Solihull but now did not call there. The morning departure ran to Liverpool for the summer reverting to Manchester for the winter timetable. Sundays saw both trains running to Liverpool for the summer, both terminated at New Street for the winter timetable. Southbound all departures were from Manchester, only the morning departure ran via Kensington Olympia everything else running via Guildford. Summer Sundays saw both trains start from Manchester, Stockport was omitted due to engineering works.

1M02 on Saturdays was booked to run via Tulse Hill, Herne Hill and Factory Junction.

 

Southbound all services bar one started from Manchester, from the Winter timetable services ran via Stoke rather than via Crewe.

From the 4th of January 2004 a revised timetable came into force this mainly affected the Sunday trains which were altered almost every weekend due to engineering works. These have not been included in the details below as we would end up with another page just for Sundays!

 

18th May 2003  to 22nd May 2004

M-S

M-S

M-S

M-S

SUN

SUN

Headcode

1M02

1M02

1M11

1M11

 1M??

1M?? 

Notes

AB

BC

AB

BC

B

B

Brighton

 

 

0920D

0920D

0940

1340

Haywards Heath

 

 

0934

0934

0952

1352

Gatwick Airport

0515

0515

0946

0946

1013

1412

Redhill

 

 

 

 

1033

1433

Guildford

 

 

 

 

1105

1505

East Croydon

0531

0531

1002

1002

 

 

Kensington Olympia

0549

0549

1037

1037

 

 

Reading

0635

0635

1135

1135

1135

1535

Oxford

0701

0701

1202

1202

1202

1604

Banbury

0726

0726

1226

1226

1226

1623

Leamington Spa

0744

0744

1245

1245

1244

1641

Birmingham NS arr

0814

0814

1314

1314

1314

1714X

Birmingham NS dep

0818

0818

1318

1318

1318Z

1718Z

Wolverhampton

0837

0837

1337

1337

1334Z

1737Z

Stafford

0848

0848

 

 

 

 

Stoke on Trent

 

0908

 

1407

 

 

Congleton

 

0921

 

 

 

 

Macclesfield

 

0929

 

1427

 

 

Crewe

0916

 

1410

 

1417Z

1822Z

Wilmslow

0935

 

 

 

 

 

Stockport

0945

0947

 

1443

 

 

Manchester Piccadilly

0959

1003

 

1501

 

 

Runcorn

 

 

1430

 

1435Z

1842Z

Liverpool L Street

 

 

1454

 

1501Z

1907Z

A = Until 27th September 2003

B = Buffet

C = From 29th September 2003

D = departs 0915 Saturdays

X = Arrives 1724 from 28th September 2003.

Z = Terminates at Birmingham New Street from 28th September 2003.

 

 

18th May 2003  to 22nd May 2004

M-S

M-S

M-S

M-S

SUN

SUN

SUN

SUN

Headcode

1O11

1O11

1O??

1O??

1O??

1O??

1O??

1O??

Notes

AB

BC

AB

BC

BD

BE

BD

BE

Manchester Piccadilly

0853

0850

1657

1657

0853

0833

1453

 

Stockport

0902

0903

1710

1710

 

0843

 

 

Wilmslow

0911

 

1720

 

0908

 

1511

 

Crewe

 

 

 

 

0931

 

1534

 

Macclesfield

 

0915

 

1722

 

0856

 

 

Congleton

 

0923

 

1730

 

 

 

 

Stoke on Trent

 

0939

 

1743

 

0919

 

 

Wolverhampton

1014

1014

1814

1814

1014

 

1614

 

Birmingham New Street arr

1030

1030

1830

1830

1030

1028

1630

 

Birmingham New Street dep

1033

1033

1833

1833

1033

1033

1633

1833

Leamington Spa

1059

1059

1859

1859

1059

1059

1659

1859

Banbury

1116

1116

1916

1916

1116

1116

1716

1916

Oxford

1136

1136

1936

1936

1136

1136

1736

1936

Reading

1201

1201

2001

2001

1201

1201

1801

2005

Kensington Olympia

1241

1241

 

 

 

 

 

 

East Croydon

1315

1315

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guildford

 

 

2031

2031

1253

1253

1849

2035

Redhill

 

 

2119Z

2119Z

1324

1324

1924

2103

Gatwick Airport

1331

1331

2128Z

2128Z

1342

1342

1942

2115

Haywards Heath

1348

1348

2141Z

2141Z

1355

1353

1956

2135

Brighton

1414

1414

2200Z

2200Z

1417

1412

2015

2200

A = Until 27th September 2003.

B = Buffet

C = From 29th September 2003.

D = Until 21st September 2003.

E = From 28th September 2003.

Z = Saturdays arrives Gatwick 2105, Haywards Heath 2118, Brighton 2137.

 


 

Early 2004 and an unidentified class 220 Voyager heads out of Brighton with 1M11 the 0920 to Manchester Piccadilly. A light dusting of snow covers the hills. This view is taken from the footbridge that straddles the railway line and A23 at Waterhall on the outskirts of the city.

Photo by the author.

 

 

2002 - 20032004