Direct trains from Portsmouth to Brighton saved as new timetable to rail improvements are revealed

Proposals to axe trains which run directly from Portsmouth to Brighton have been ditched – with a new timetable of improved railway services on the way.
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Timetable changes proposed by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) in the summer of 2023 would have seen longer travel times between Portsmouth and Gatwick Airport, as well as the loss of a direct service from Portsmouth and Brighton in a move which were opposed by Portsmouth City Council.

But now updates to the West Coastway timetable, which connects Southampton, Portsmouth, and Brighton, have revealed that many of those plans were ditched with services - many of which are operated by Southern under GTR’s management - now being kept.

The following will be introduced on June 2:

Direct Southern rail services from Portsmouth to Brighton will continue - as well as a train from Portsmouth Harbour to London Victoria every 30 minutes. Picture contributedDirect Southern rail services from Portsmouth to Brighton will continue - as well as a train from Portsmouth Harbour to London Victoria every 30 minutes. Picture contributed
Direct Southern rail services from Portsmouth to Brighton will continue - as well as a train from Portsmouth Harbour to London Victoria every 30 minutes. Picture contributed
  • The retention of three Southern trains arriving in Portsmouth
  • The retention of the hourly direct service between Portsmouth and Brighton
  • A train from Portsmouth Harbour to London Victoria every 30 minutes
  • More services calling at Hilsea due to growing passenger numbers
  • A service between Southampton, Cosham, Havant and Brighton every 30 minutes
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One of the Portsmouth Harbour to London Victoria services will make stops at all stations between Havant and Chichester, while the other will only stop at Emsworth and Southbourne, preserving previous journey times.

Jenny Saunders, Southern’s customer services director said: “We are confident that the new timetable will support us to provide a better service for our customers in the area.

“It also has the potential to expand in the years ahead and we will continue to work alongside our stakeholders and customers to identify any future improvements.”

Portsmouth City Council documents state the new timetable will improve reliability due to a more “resilient service plan”.

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Its transport cabinet member, councillor Gerald Vernon Jackson welcomed the amended timetable, adding: “It’s nice to see something we lobbied that went in the right direction,” he said. “I think it’s good to get rid of the idea of no direct trains to Brighton – I think we should probably write to them and say thank you.”