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British Rail Passenger Timetable

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British Rail Passenger Timetable
British Rail Passenger Timetable May 1974.jpg
The first edition of the timetable, published in 1974
FrequencyAnnually (1974-1986)
Twice-annually (1986–2019)
FormatRail Timetable
PublisherBritish Rail, National Rail, The Stationery Office, Middleton Press
FounderBritish Rail
Year founded1974
First issueMay 6, 1974 (1974-05-06)
Final issueDecember 15, 2019 (2019-12-15)
CountryGreat Britain
WebsiteNational Rail timetable

The British Rail Passenger Timetable, later the National Rail Timetable, was a book that contained the times of all passenger rail services in Great Britain. It was first published by British Rail in 1974.[1]


A Bradshaw's guide book and timetable

The first combined railway timetable was produced by George Bradshaw in 1839.[2] His guide assembled timetables from the many private railway companies into one book. Bradshaw's continued to be published until 1961, with demand dwindling after the grouping of the railways in 1923, as each of the new "Big Four" companies published their own comprehensive timetable.


The British Rail logo from 1965

After the Big Four were brought into public ownership in 1948 to form British Railways[3] (later British Rail), each of the six regions published their own timetable, containing details of all services in their region.[1] After Bradshaw's ceased printing in 1961[4] (as it couldn't compete with the cheaper regional timetables), there was a gap of 13 years without a system-wide schedule.

This changed in 1974, when British Rail launched their first nationwide timetable, costing 50p (roughly £10 in 2020) and running to 1,350 pages.[1] The British Rail Passenger Timetable continued to be published annually until 1986, at which point it was split into summer and winter issues. It was then released twice a year until the privatisation of British Rail in 1997.


National Rail (owned by the Association of Train Operating Companies) was set up to provide information about passenger services after privatisation.[5] It continued the publication of the network-wide timetable (renamed the National Rail Timetable), stopping in 2007 due to low demand.[1]

Network Rail, who produce the scheduling data, started publishing the timetable on their website for free in 2006, which is still available to download as a PDF file.[6] The timetable continued to be published in paper format by The Stationery Office and Middleton Press. The Stationery Office published their last edition in 2014,[7] and Middleton Press stopped production in 2019, by which point the timetable cost £26 and was available by mail order only, meaning that there is no longer any means of obtaining a full published timetable.[1][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Thorpe, Peter. "The end of the line for the printed national timetable". The Railway Museum. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  2. ^ "About Bradshaw's Guide". Bradshaw's Guide. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  3. ^ "British Railways". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  4. ^ Fox, Brendan (September 2009). "Thomas Cook Timetables–Covering the World" (PDF). Japan Railway & Transport Review. Vol. 53. East Japan Railway Culture Foundation. p. 20. ISSN 1342-7512. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 February 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  5. ^ "About National Rail Enquiries". National Rail Enquiries. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  6. ^ "The timetable". Network Rail. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  7. ^ "GB Rail Timetable – Winter 2014 Edition". The Stationery Office shop. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Rail Times for Great Britain". Middleton Press. Retrieved 20 April 2020.

External links[edit]

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