NRG (National Rail Guide) Summer 2020
My new series is designed to fill the gap sadly left by Middleton Press – but a bit of my style and an integrated twist! NRG – National Rail Guide, also brings a lot of the content removed from timetables recently like bus links, introduction, contact details, airports, as well as new information for this series like details of Rover and Ranger Tickets – and much more besides.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT – APOLOGIES FOR THE DELAY!
For the Summer 2020 edition I didn’t propose a September edition, however when I was still working on them in October 2020 I decided to make a call – for this edition – to get out what was ready or it will never get finished! This has some formatting for the Abbreviated and some of the more detailed too – as well as letting you see the difference in layouts with 2 x A5 to a A4 page, and 4 to an A4 page too. The Summer 2020 edition is a Special Edition, essentially for archives, and the sake of getting something out! This is only one format, with no regional options until the next editions.
There are no additional bus/metro/ferry services beyond the basic information. This will be done for next edition (Winter 2020/2021) which I anticipate will be the full range) late January 2021. I can set up a Standing Order to allow you to get only the books you want, and you only need to submitting your card details once - without paying any money until your book is ready!
Book 1 covers Basic Guide To Tickets, PlusBus, Rail Rovers and Ranger Tickets, Rail Operators/Commercial Information, Index to Services, Index to Places Served, Maps in tiled format, Metro Maps, London Underground information first/last trains and frequencies, Station Intehagr Maps Crosisng London, , Timetables and Route Diagrams for Tables 001 to 052.
Book 2 covers Timetables and Route Diagrams for Tables 052MML to Table 243, plus four Rail-Bus-Link tables (to whet your appetite for the full thing this Winter!)
Both books include Abbreviations and Symbols, Operator Codes, Calendar and Barry Doe’s Railway map on back cover.
ADDITIONALLY DURING THE CURRENT PANDEMIC, SERVICES HAVE CHANGED MANY TMES OVER, TO A POINT WHERE I CAN’T ALWAYS KEEP UP! USE THESE TIMETABLES AS A GUIDE ONLY.
For future editions (from Winter 2020/2021 onwards), you can get either of these!
NRG – National Rail Guide - Comprehensive Editions (yellow covers) includes timetables for all mainline rail services, almost all bus or coach-rail links, information on ferries and hovercrafts, and trams/metro systems across Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), plus summary tables (hopefully) to show rail services in Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and the Isle of Man – i.e. covering all the British Isles. This is printed 2 x A5 on an A4 Sheet of paper, to replicate the traditional font size used by the National Rail Timetable, as opposed to the B5 size used for the former Rail Times. This is truly the flagship timetable of the range. The Indexes are expanded to cover the additional services and destinations.
NRG – National Rail Guide – Abbreviated Editions (green covers) – for those on a tight budget, or for those who want can read fine print sizes, like what was done before. To do this I squeeze the text to half the size in the main book – four A5 pages reduced to fit on a single A4 page, with this only including National Rail timetables (no ferries, metros or bus links) and the Indexes alongside the timetables for Caledonian Sleeper and Eurostar services.
For those who do not require the full country, there are also these spin-offs (all have text at the full National Rail table size);
SRG – Scottish Rail Guide (blue cover), the Scottish one I have previously done for Winter 2019/2020, with some extra bus tables (including almost all on the ScotRail 2018 and 2020 Network Maps plus a few more useful series, and connections). Also useful for backpackers, munro baggers, and Scottish transport users alike. A5 page size at normal text size.
ICRG – InterCity Rail Guide (red cover) – ideal if you do not need the full whack, this timetable includes all services on the former British Rail InterCity service network, and primary connections.
London & The South East Rail Guide (burgundy cover) – ideal if you do not need the full whack, this timetable includes all services in London and the South East, including services for Transport for London like London Trams and London Underground.
So – you pays your money, you takes your choice!
In relation to maps we did try to update what was previously done in 2015 to 2020 , but the maps were supplied as rolling it in rasterised images and not editable line diagrams, presumably to keep the cartographer rolling in it every year – so what we have now is a gap that I want to change, but… So I did approach the company who does the a national rail map that were doing maps included on National Rail website as well as their own (I think they rhyme with Mroject Papping?) and this was included tiled on the back cover of the Middleton edition. As a courtesy I emailed them, asking permission to use a bit more including their local and abbreviated network map on the back. Despite offering more exposure for zero work on their part I was told “I don’t think your business plan offers me any benefit…”’“ Never mind, will make a nice review/quote for the future! Or was it because I pointed out three mistakes in the map in question he has still never fixed? Probably… yes I know I prefer accuracy over looks? Never mind – to anyone else who objects to me pointing these things out for bus or rail timetable or map errors, let me explain my theory. Buy yourself one of my books, a pencil, and let the vengeance begin… Thankfully most of the rest of the railway industry have been much more supportive to my efforts! So for now there is the 2015 Network Rail maps – with changes since but retained for table number reference – and Barry Doe’s May 2020 Network Map that shows each Train Operator in different colours (and the Barry Doe Map also appears on the back cover as well as being tiled). While I did hope Middleton Press would have continued their proposed Guide to Rail Times (Indexes and Maps) this sadly never took flight. There are a few options and I hope a bespoke or updated map can be completed for Summer 2021.
Many rail-bus links used to appear on the National Rail Network Map, which has since been discontinued, as well as a smaller number that used to appear in National Rail Timetable. But many TOC’s advertise other connections with through fares, and/or useful connections. (Some TOC’s don’t bother – but that’s another story). So there is clearly a lot more connections that might not always appear in National Rail Enquiries – St Andrews (Bus) does show up in Journey Planner BUT Crieff (Bus) does not. Not sure why – but it means less options for the novice? There are millions of data feeds, but if the information you might need isn’t there – what do you do? Is integration really dead??? Probably but not here… ScotRail are the only TOC who have added more connections to their map - but when I asked if through fares were available (probably not but you never know!) I was advised “we’ll get back to you…” I seem to get that a lot – and 1 time in 10 maybe someone does ?
So the bus timetables are either those for;
• Services through fares to/from National Rail – including rover or ranger tickets (other than PlusBus/London Day Travelcard options except for certain useful connections etc. – otherwise the book would be taller than me!).
• Services that appear (or did appear) on a train operators map or similar guide.
• a couple of useful additions in some areas, like Pitlochry on Inverness line-Kinloch Rannoch with taxibus connections to/from Rannoch Station, to provide links between Highland Line and West Highland Line without doubling back to Glasgow.
Only in one case is a mapped service (on GWR 2019 and former NR map last updated in 2015) been withdrawn entirely – the Kingham to Chipping Norton Railbus was withdrawn with the rest of the supported Oxfordshire bus network during the height of austerity. The irony of the Prime Minister at the time of most austerity being for MP Chipping Norton was probably not lost on locals! So instead… I’ve included 488 to/from Banbury, and S3 to/from Oxford as well. BUT I now hear they’ve now been granted more funding…
Some additional tables may be in a summary format. Where there is three or more buses/ferries an hour on a particular connection (Monday-Friday off peak), this guide shows a summary table of information – otherwise the entire table is included, including bus stops not mentioned as part of the rail-bus link. This is a general rule but by no means hard and fast one. If more pages would be required for a summary than the table, then that makes sense to me. Additionally if services are changing soon (that I am aware of) it makes no sense to compile summary timetables today, but rather wait and use operator timetables for now. Please remember bus operators can change services at 77 days notice – sometimes shorter notice where another operator has ceased or issues like road closures - so please use these times as a guide. During the pandemic this has been changed to 24 HOURS notice… give you a clue when I say it’s not to the passengers either!
This guide also includes complete and comprehensive introduction like Rail Operator Contact Details where these have been thrown out or put online only. There is information on international services on Eurostar plus Caledonian Sleeper that no longer forms part of the main train timetable. You can find these (not yet in the Indexes – see above) as Table T065S for Caledonian Sleeper on the West Coast and Table T194I for Eurostar international services via High Speed 1 – see what I did there? Suffices are S for Sleeper, or I for International).
Your views are especially important as this is a brand new venture. If there is a mistake – let me know! What I wanted to get done was something to start with, and we can see how feedback goes over coming weeks and months. Eventually I would like the NRG (National one) out three times per year alongside twice or three times a year like London Buses, and some other local ones less often. While Mainline rail only changes twice a year, other rail does change, and there is always leaf fall timetables, and the forthcoming start of ferry (and some bus timetables) for winter.
So while this was always going to be a May edition and not September, the length of time it has taken to compile the first one does mean that there is some of the post-September “temporary” / “new normal” timetables with some continuing until at least December. While the May NRTT file was supposed to be updated again in may (and later again), this has not happened, with some parts of the timetable apparently never starting. These timetables are always important I feel – a snapshot in time. If you have any comments or inaccuracies regarding a train, bus, ferry or metro service timetable, this can come to me - so if there’s anything wrong that has missed my eye – tell me!
We do start at an unusual time… to quote the Irish joke “I wouldn’t start from here if I was you…” We are in the middle of a worldwide health pandemic, and many services oddly are not running to these timetables right now. Many people have been on furlough and many online timetables are only temporary.
So what is the story between the tagline “Let travel be your energy?” Let Love Be Your Energy is a Robbie Williams song title. As I was thinking of abbreviations for the new book title, NRG was on paper (National Rail Guide) – so when twisted together, this represents s a love of travel. Admittedly, travel isn’t encouraged in lockdown - but there’s always next year! As to whether this turns out to be a resource for the armchair travellers too – time will tell!
Finally, all the previous editions of this book by Middleton Press, Vic Mitchell (another fountain of rail information) used the pen-name Vic Mitchell-Bradshaw on the timetables produced under the Rail Times series of National Rail Timetables since 2007, in honour of the railway timetable legend George Bradshaw. Other than me being Quaker, I don’t feel justified in using Bradshaw’s name for my efforts. But I like giving my books a personal twist - as most used to be dedicated to my former business-and-life partner Caroline. So, my regular travelling companion (and bus spotter) Graeme Smith came up with the words “you are the mistress of journey planning” when I was working out a series of day trips last year - I decided to sign myself off as that!
Both books are A4 with colour covers and map sections too. Over 600 pages each (rail times are 4 to a page, indexes 2), with clear plastic and metal heat bound covers.
Buy One Book – Hard Copy - for £33.50 (including P&P)
Buy Both Books – Hard Copy – for £63.00 instead of £67.00
Downloads – Special Offer 2 for the price of 1 – get both books to download for the price of £15.