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Rail bosses insist new timetable will not repeat 2018 chaos and ‘lessons have been learned’

Train timetable changes sparked weeks of travel delays last year. (PA)

Rail chiefs claim to have learned the lessons from last year’s catastrophic rail timetable change as National Rail rolls out a new timetable for the summer.

Commencing Sunday, the updated timetable will see 1,000 new train services introduced across the UK.

Network Rail has vowed to respond to any problems and monitor changes to ensure there is no repeat of last summer’s widespread disruption. Last year, timetable changes resulted in weeks of delays and hundreds of cancelled trains.

Darren Shirley, chief executive of pressure group Campaign for Better Transport, said: "The railway has a long way to go to win back passenger confidence.

The timetable overhaul will particularly affect South Western Railway. (GETTY)

“But we hope that the lessons of last year have been learnt and the introduction of the new timetable... will improve people's perceptions of the railways, rather than further damaging them.

"In the event that things do go wrong, we would expect the rail industry to have a robust contingency plan so that passengers aren't left stranded again.

“Passengers waiting on platforms just want the trains to run on time... they have paid for a service, and want the service to be reliable.”

The biggest changes will come on South Western Railway as hundreds of extra services a week will be introduced from the home counties into Waterloo station in London.

Train companies have been told to have a contingency plan ready in case Sunday’s timetable changes lead to further issues.

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Transport Secretary Chris Grayling was criticised last year after an Office of Rail and Road investigation concluded there was a “lack of clarity about roles and responsibilities” and “nobody took charge”.

Govia Thameslink Railway was fined £5 million by the rail regulator over its lack of communication during the debacle.

Passengers have been urged to check their journeys as the major timetable changes come into effect.