Fringe Box



All Aboard for Southampton, Bournemouth and Weymouth – Direct from Guildford

Published on: 30 Mar, 2023
Updated on: 1 Apr, 2023

By Tony Derbyshire

Every cloud has a silver lining. The cloud in this case is railway engineering works on the line between Reading and Basingstoke.

The silver lining is that for four days over the Easter holiday Good Friday, April 7 until Easter Monday, April 11 South Western Railway will be sending their Southampton, Bournemouth and Weymouth Trains each hour through our town.

South Western Railways train

And Cross Country trains will route their services to and from Bournemouth and Southampton to Birmingham and Manchester through Guildford every two hours.

So, for those wanting a day out at the seaside or a day “Oop North” or in the Midlands then the four-day Easter holiday is your chance not to travel via London.

Interestingly ‘The Cross Country Train’ franchise is now run by Arriva Group who are ultimately owned by Deutsche Bahn AG.

Cross Country train

In 1996 the Department of Transport awarded the franchise to Virgin Trains and in 2007 Arriva took over, which contract lasts until October 2023.

Normal services to and from Portsmouth Harbour and Reigate, Reading and Gatwick will  operate as usual

The demise of the long haul through services

Back in 1997, Guildford enjoyed through services to many parts of the UK including Brighton and Portsmouth to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Prior to Covid, Guildford enjoyed only one service per day to and from Newcastle upon Tyne.

Now there are no through services and Guildford residents have to travel either via Reading or London to reach those further afield destinations on those routes.

Considering that the number of people travelling on trains in the UK had increased dramatically pre-COVID and is now nearly back to those numbers, it seems disappointing that the Department of Transport, which controls all the UK franchises, has missed the point about reducing traffic on our roads.

Time for a rethink?

Share This Post

Responses to All Aboard for Southampton, Bournemouth and Weymouth – Direct from Guildford

  1. H Trevor Jones Reply

    March 30, 2023 at 10:32 am

    My guess is that the Cross Country trains will be more crowded that the SWR trains, but you can book free reservations on Cross Country, which I’d recommend if you plan to use their services.

  2. Keith Francis Reply

    March 30, 2023 at 6:25 pm

    Cross Country were on divert via Guildford in March last year and very busy, especially on the return from Birmingham International with Naval and other service personnel plus students taking advantage of the change of route via Portsmouth – so book your seats.

  3. John Lomas Reply

    March 30, 2023 at 8:37 pm

    Is it known how many and which of the intermediate stations on the diversionary route will also be served? Presumably, not all trains might do that.

  4. Adrian Chandler Reply

    March 31, 2023 at 11:38 pm

    I think the railway companies need to seriously think about making these (or at least some of these) diverted services permanent in order to attract more custom.

    With many commuters now increasingly working from home, new ways of raising revenues have to be found.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *