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ORR requires train companies to improve information to passengers on changes to the timetable

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has this week written to train companies requiring urgent improvements in how they keep passengers informed of train timetable changes.

In February, Network Rail said it was not able to finalise train timetables until six rather than the normal 12 weeks in advance. We wrote to train companies to make clear that they would have to make sure that passengers continued to receive the best information available so they can plan and book journeys with confidence.

Since then, we have been talking to train companies and seen some improvements, such as better signposting of late notice changes to the timetable, but there is still much more that needs to be done to help passengers . For example, while National Rail Enquiries provides train specific warning messages where trains are not yet confirmed to run or late changes are not yet in the journey planner, this is not always the case on train companies’ own websites.

That is why ORR is requiring each train company to set out the actions they are taking and when they will make these necessary improvements. We will review these actions to assess whether they are fit for purpose and will monitor progress against these. We will keep the need for further action under review.

Meanwhile, our investigations into Network Rail, looking at how the timetabling issue arose in the first place and their progress on getting back to normal, continues.

Stephanie Tobyn, Deputy Director, Consumers said: “ORR’s monitoring has shown that train companies are not always giving passengers good enough information to help them plan their journey.

“This is not acceptable and that is why we have written to all train companies requiring them to set out how they will put this right.”

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