Train services are being cut back further as a result of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement last week putting the whole of England under the third national lockdown since the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic began last spring, industry body the Rail Delivery Group said.
Before the new lockdown began, the railway was operating at about 87 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
But following the introduction of new timetables, service levels will be reduced to approximately 72 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
Some services will be completely cut, while others will be operating on a reduced timetable.
🕗 This month, many train companies are introducing reduced timetables. By focussing resources on maintaining morning and evening peak services, these changes will increase reliability, protect staff and enable key workers to get to where they’re needed.https://t.co/W4Cb0lz8m5 pic.twitter.com/RHPBeoD89W
— Rail Delivery Group (@RailDeliveryGrp) January 14, 2021
The new timetables have been planned in coordination with the government so as to ensure key workers can get to work and social distancing can be maintained in train carriages.
“Changing to a reduced timetable during this period of much lower demand will deliver certainty for those people who need to travel while saving taxpayers’ money,” said Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions at the Rail Delivery Group.
“We ask people to check before they travel in the weeks ahead and we thank our frontline rail staff whose hard work is keeping other key workers moving.”
Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris urged people who are using the railways, including those who need to travel to vaccination centres, to “check their route before they travel, and aim to do so outside of peak times wherever possible.”
The prime minister said last week that he was imposing the new national lockdown because previous measures were no longer sufficient to curb the spread of a new CCP virus variant, which he said has a 50 to 70 percent faster rate of transmission.
Under the new restrictions, people must stay at home, and may only leave for limited reasons, such as to shop for essentials, to work if they cannot work from home, to exercise, to seek medical assistance, or to escape domestic abuse.
On Monday, National Express suspended all its UK coach services until March.
Simon Veazey contributed to this report.