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Empty stations show lockdown is still keeping travellers off the trains

PUBLISHED: 10:28 15 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:54 15 May 2020

There are few passengers using Norwich station during lockdown. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

There are few passengers using Norwich station during lockdown. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

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Clear evidence of the effect of lockdown on rail services can be seen in a series of photographs from the region’s largest stations taken over the last week – there are still few passengers to be seen, even during rush hours.

Ipswich station has been nearly deserted during the lockdown. Picture: GREATER ANGLIAIpswich station has been nearly deserted during the lockdown. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

Greater Anglia and Network Rail have released pictures from most of the busiest stations in the region showing very few passengers at Norwich, Ipswich, Liverpool Street, Colchester and Cambridge stations.

The rail company has been carrying fewer than 5% of its normal passenger numbers on most services during the lockdown but the trains have carried on running to provide links for key workers.

Only a fraction of normal passengers are using London's Liverpool Street station. Picture: NETWORK RAILOnly a fraction of normal passengers are using London's Liverpool Street station. Picture: NETWORK RAIL

There were fears that the government call for more people to return to work this week would lead to an increase in passenger numbers, but that does not appear to have happened.

For the small numbers who are still using the trains, the reliability and punctuality over the last month improved again.

A rush-hour train at Colchester station during the lockdown. Picture: GREATER ANGLIAA rush-hour train at Colchester station during the lockdown. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

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Overall 97.3% of the company’s trains ran on time last month, prompting managing director Jamie Burles to thank the “excellent” work of teams across the business, including drivers, conductors, station staff, cleaning teams, depot teams, fleet teams, control teams and back office teams.

Cambridge station is seeing far fewer passengers than normal during the lockdown. Picture: GREATER ANGLIACambridge station is seeing far fewer passengers than normal during the lockdown. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

He said: “I’m very grateful to my colleagues who are coming to work every day, under very challenging circumstances, and doing their best to deliver an excellent service for other key workers, and those with essential journeys to make.

“During these difficult times they are still here for customers and communities and are really playing their part in helping the region deal with the pandemic, delivering a consistently reliable service, as illustrated by our very good performance in April.

Greater Anglia have been running near-empty trains during the lockdown. Picture: Nathan Long/Greater AngliaGreater Anglia have been running near-empty trains during the lockdown. Picture: Nathan Long/Greater Anglia

“We remain committed to providing the best possible service for key workers and anyone else who still needs to travel.

“Please help us to both protect those who cannot work from home (including many of our teams here at Greater Anglia) and to enable social distancing, by only travelling if your journey is essential or unavoidable.”

More services will be introduced from next Monday – but again they will only be for people needing to travel to work or for other vital reasons like medical appointments. Social distancing will remain in force and government advice is not to use public transport if there is any alternative.


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