Rail service improvements and disruptions

20.03.20

Rail timetables to be reduced to help tackle the spread of COVID-19

The UK rail industry and the government have constructed a plan that will see a steady reduction in train services across the country due to lower passenger demand, while keeping vital rail services running.

From Monday 23rd March, services will be reduced and with subject to review, with operators providing clear communications to ensure passengers who need to travel are well-informed of the changes.

Rail operators will continue to run essential services ensuring people can still get to work, get to medical appointments and the flow of goods continues across the UK.

Running reduced service will also help protect the welfare of frontline railway staff essential for day-to-day operations.

There will be a measured move towards introducing reduced service levels on wide parts of the network over the longer term. To prevent disruption, services will be reduced progressively across the network over the coming days.

Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, said: “We are taking decisive action to protect the public which means reducing travel for the time being, whilst still ensuring keyworker heroes can get to their jobs to keep this nation running.

“For passengers in crucial roles, including essential workers in our emergency services and NHS, alongside people who need to attend medical appointments or care for loved ones, these changes protect the services they rely on.

“Our railways are at the heart of this country’s transport links, and we continue to work closely with the industry to develop measures that protects operators in these challenging times.”

Robert Nisbet, Director of Nations and Regions at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “At a time of extraordinary national challenge, the measures rail companies are putting in place with government will preserve services so that we can continue to get key workers to where they need to be, deliver food to supermarkets and get fuel to power stations.

“This is not a decision we take lightly. However, implementing these measures now will mean that we can continue to operate trains over a prolonged period with fewer railway workers, who like so many others are to be commended for putting the needs of the country first, and whose safety remains front of mind.

“We are monitoring demand closely and should it become necessary in the weeks ahead, we will adjust services and timetables to ensure they’re being delivered to best effect where they’re needed most, in accordance with our plan. We would advise anybody who has to travel to check the time of their train on the National Rail Enquiries website before they set out.”

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