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Train services to be cut in focus on providing vital services

Rail services are to be cut to reflect lower passenger demand while keeping vital services running.

The reduction in services will be phased in from Monday 23 March

The plan, agreed by the Government with rail operators, follows latest government advice to avoid all but essential travel due to coronavirus and responds to changing passenger travel patterns while also helping to limit the spread of coronavirus among rail staff. It’s also focused however on keeping vital services running for key workers, including the emergency services and NHS, and for freight.

The ramp down will take effect from 23 March and is also being rolled out in Scotland. It remains subject to review and follows a reduction in public transport in London, with TfL shutting up to 40 Tube stations and cutting some bus services, while there has been a series of announcements from bus operators across the UK of reduced services.

Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions at the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said: “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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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.