SEmG

Southern Timetables

These pages are not attempting to be a complete history of Southern Timetables, far from it, but to illustrate some of the timetable publications made available to the traveller on the Southern. The pictures are of those publications within my collection, we would welcome any similar pictures or information to add to this page.

With the complexity of services on the Southern it is hardly surprising that the timetable books were split in to "Passenger Services" comprising over 500 pages covering main line services and "Passenger Suburban Services" with over 250 pages covering the London Suburban services. They were further split into Eastern, Central and Western section services within each book.

There were, on certain lines/locations, some cross over between the books e.g. services to Guildford. At 6.5" x 5" in size they were slightly larger than "pocket sized".

Sir Herbert Walker, General Manager of the Southern Railway from 1923 to 1937, had introduced clockface timetabling for suburban electric services during his tenure as General Manager of the LSWR. He is reported to have said:
"People don't like timetables, make it easy for them".
This he continued to have applied to local services across the Southern System where possible. Clockface timings describes the practice where the service to the same location departs at the same minute(s) past the hour every hour. For example, Waterloo to Shepperton every 25 and 55 minutes past the hour, or Waterloo to Hampton Court every 5, 20, 35 and 50 minutes past the hour, or Waterloo to Wimbledon every 9 and 39 minutes past the hour, these timings were as introduced in 1919.

It is ironic that in December 2004 South West Trains introduced a new timetable of services utilising some clockface timetabling and worded within the press release the benefits, to the passenger, of such timings as if they had invented it.

timetables timetables

It is interesting to note from the picture above that the timetable dated January 1st, 1940 was titled Emergency Passenger Services following the outbreak of War. However, by the October 6th, 1941 timetable, owing to the lack of immediate effect of the war on services, the term "Emergency" was dropped. Included in the books were an index to stations, a summery of principal services, table of fares, the obligatory Underground map and a few choice adverts, some being full page with the majority of others being across the bottom of some pages.

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Text and images are copyright Graham R 'Muz' Muspratt.

This page was created 12 February 2005

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