The operator behind Southern and Thameslink has announced its new timetable for December and some journey times will be reduced.

Platform and track improvements at Gatwick Airport station mean that journey times will be shorter on most routes using the Brighton main line.

The improvements, due for completion early next year, mean the Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has changed departure times for many of its services.

GTR said that a large portion of its trains will have slightly different departure times, particularly on Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink services.

About 700 trains, a quarter of GTR’s total weekday services, will be affected by these slight changes.

This means peak-hour journey times between Brighton and London Bridge will be reduced by up to ten minutes.

Some additional changes build on improvements made earlier this year to match services with new patterns of demand since the impact of the Covid pandemic.

“This new timetable brings improvements on several fronts. Many of our customers can look forward to faster and more punctual trains, and some routes will have more capacity at busier times," said Angie Doll, GTR’s chief operating officer. 

"Many departure times will change by a few minutes, so if you’re planning to travel after December 11 please check the new timetable in advance.

“We’ll continue to monitor how passengers are using our services, and we’ll make more adjustments to balance demand and resources across the network when and where practical.”

Journey planners have already been updated with the changes, and new downloadable timetables will be available from Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink websites from December 5.

The RMT union has also announced industrial action in December.

GTR said it is working closely with the wider rail industry to determine how this will affect their train service, but the network is expected to be severely reduced.

This is how much time you could save from the Gatwick improvements:

•            Brighton to London Bridge – reducing from 71/68 minutes to 61 minutes

•            Haywards Heath to London Bridge – 47 minutes to 44 minutes

•            Gatwick Airport to London Bridge – 33 minutes to 29 minutes

•            Littlehampton to London Victoria –114 minutes to 109 minutes.