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Empty trains as Greater Anglia keeps services running for essential workers

PUBLISHED: 05:30 08 April 2020

Only three people were on the train from Norwich to London. Picture: Nathan Long/Greater Anglia

Only three people were on the train from Norwich to London. Picture: Nathan Long/Greater Anglia

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This is what an Intercity train from East Anglia to London looks like during the coronavirus crisis – only three passengers were on this service from the region to Liverpool Street.

Only three people were on the train from Norwich to London. Picture: Nathan Long/Greater AngliaOnly three people were on the train from Norwich to London. Picture: Nathan Long/Greater Anglia

While a reduced number of trains continue to run for essential workers, the number of passengers carried by Greater Anglia is only a tiny fraction that would normally be expected.

Fewer than 10% of normal passengers are travelling, and the government is supporting rail companies to keep a basic service running so essential workers – including NHS staff and police officers can get to work.

However on some services even fewer people are travelling – but the trains will be continue to run so essential workers can get through.

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Greater Anglia conductor Nathan Long took these pictures on the 1400 train from Norwich to Liverpool Street on Tuesday – for much of the journey there were only three passengers on the 12-coach train so social distancing was no real problem. Some carriages on the new Stadler-built trains were totally empty.

A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said services were very far from normal on the region’s rail routes – but it was vital to keep trains running for those people who really needed them to get to work in vital services.

She said: “In common with the rest of the rail industry, we have seen a drop of about 90% in passenger numbers using our trains, as people are heeding Government advice to stay at home. We are running a reduced timetable, so that we can ensure a robust, reliable and punctual service for essential key workers who are travelling by train.

“These include many NHS workers both at the big regional hospitals across East Anglia and also in central London.

“We are operating enough trains with enough seats to ensure key workers can make their journeys and maintain social distancing while travelling. We are also monitoring passenger numbers on a daily basis to ensure the revised timetable remains fit for purpose.

“The safety of customers and staff is our top priority. We have stepped up cleaning of trains and stations, with particular attention to touch points, including push buttons, grab rails and door handles, topping up soap, water and toilet roll and following government guidelines for hygiene and to prevent the spread of the virus.”


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