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Rail services increase ahead of easing of lockdown

Industry body the Rail Delivery Group said more than 1,000 daily weekday services have been added to timetables since mid-February, with many more pending. 

The increases come as passengers prepare to return to retail and leisure activities. As the country makes its progression and steps towards the easing of lockdown restrictions with nearly 18,000 services will running from Monday 12th April, when non-essential shops, pub beer gardens and outdoor visitor attractions are among premises allowed to reopen in England.

The RDG said an additional 1,500 people have been employed to clean trains and stations during the pandemic, representing an increase of 25%.

It calculated that 13,250 liters of cleaning agent is used every month to sanitize surfaces on the rail network.

Mark Phillips, CEO of the Rail Safety and Standards Board saidAs restrictions ease, it is extremely reassuring that rail companies are taking the necessary steps to ensure people can travel with confidence. While research into this field continues, we know that ventilation systems on most trains are effective in replacing air in carriages meaning transmission may be less likely on trains than in other indoor environments” 

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, said: “RMT welcomes the increase in service levels on our railways which is vital to providing the capacity for safe travel as the lockdown eases.

“At the same time, the industry must take all necessary steps, working with the trade unions, to ensure safety standards do not slip. Our priority at all times must be to learn the lessons of the past year and protect the travelling public and the workforce alike.”

Paul Tuohy, chief executive of pressure group Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Getting people back onto public transport is essential to supporting economic growth across the country and avoiding an environmentally damaging car-led recovery.”

Other services across the country have been making major preparations and establishing new safety measures over the Easter holidays and will continue to do as the industry follows the governments roadmap out of lockdown. 

However, there is a continued urge of caution, with no changes to social contact rules and many restrictions still in place.

 

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