Rail cuts are on the way - but Greater Anglia is still working on its new emergency timetable for lockdown
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
The government and rail industry has signalled that more service cuts are on the way as lockdown continues - but Greater Anglia is still looking at what trains to take out of its timetables.
The Rail Delivery Group and Department of Transport has advised people who do need to travel by train over the next few weeks to study online timetables regularly because there are likely to be major changes as services are reduced.
People can again only use public transport, including trains, if their journey is absolutely essential - for trips to work, for education, to give care to someone, or for medical reasons.
Trains are once again running largely empty - although so far there have been few reductions in services in East Anglia.
A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said officials were looking at timetables to see if and when changes could be made - and there could be service reductions over the next few weeks.
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During the spring the frequency of services on many lines, including the main line from Norwich and Ipswich to London, was seriously reduced as passenger numbers fell to a fraction of pre-pandemic levels.
In other parts of the country reduced services are being introduced so those making longer-distance trips should check that their train is running.
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Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “It is critical that our railways continue to deliver reliable services for key workers and people who cannot reasonably work from home, and that they respond quickly to changes in demand.
“The new reduced timetable delivers that, as well as reducing the financial burden on the taxpayer.
“Levels of services will vary by operator and changes will come into effect steadily over the next few weeks. Passengers who are using the railways, including those who need to travel to vaccination centres, should check their route before they travel, and aim to do so outside of peak times wherever possible.”
With the reintroduction of lockdown, train companies have worked with government to plan reduced timetables, focussing on morning and evening peak travel times so that key workers can get to where they’re needed, and on maintaining space for social distancing.
Robert Nisbet, Director of Nations and Regions for the Rail Delivery Group said: “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.
"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.”