On 5th September 2011, Chiltern Railways introduced their new timetable. It marked the culmination of mega-spend on engineering work (£250m), months of weekend and late night travel disruption and a couple of weeks of blockade in August.
The result is an ambitious little train company, trying to run something approaching a four track railway on two tracks. The new timetable is bedding-in, just about, but whether it is actually fit for purpose is an entirely different matter. Since the company is no longer owned by its management, its ethos on day to day operational matters does seem to be driven a little more by the bean counters than ever used to be the case.
The view of many commuters in to London is that Chiltern Railways has de-prioritised them in favour of the longer distance (commercially lucrative and less captive) West Midlands to London market. Chiltern Railways does still however have some great staff working on the front line, trying to deliver the best possible service, often in difficult circumstances.
My train home
Since the new timetable came in, I now have a new favourite train home. I have caught it on nineteen separate occasions since 5 September. Of those 19 journeys, the train has arrived on time on 9 occasions. If one includes the generally accepted standard of three minutes or less late is 'on time', then the train has been on time on 16 of the 19 journeys.
The remaining three journeys were 14, 12 & 5 minutes late.
Every single journey was quicker than would have been the case before the new timetable was introduced.
I think I've been lucky, but in respect of my homeward journey from Marylebone, I am generally quite content. There are other things I could rant on about, but for now, I shall end on a positive note.