Bosses at Greater Anglian and Network Rail have given their final update on services during lockdown – explaining how trains are now running normally again and how they are prepared for an increase in the number of passengers.
When Greater Anglia replaced its traditional Intercity trains with new Stadler modern trains at the start of this year, it looked like the end for its carriages which had carried millions of passengers for many years.
And operators have been quick to emphasise the work they have been doing to make their vehicles clean and as safe as possible for an increasing number of passengers – who will have to continue to wear face coverings while on board for the foreseeable future.
Lessons have been learned from problems which plagued Suffolk rail passengers last winter, a transport minister has said – and vowed that commuters in the county will not suffer in the same way in future.
Extra measures to maintain social distancing have been put up at Greater Anglia stations and on the region’s trains – but so far there has not been any need to implement new rules, as passengers continue to stay away.
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.
Despite concerns about crowded buses and trains in London, Suffolk transport operators say they have seen no increase in passenger numbers this week despite efforts by the government to get people back to work.
The coronavirus lockdown is set to have a major impact on rail travel – but Greater Anglia managing director Jamie Burles warned it could be months before the new way of working becomes clear for passengers and staff.
Greater Anglia is using the reduced number of trains operating on the region’s network at present as an opportunity to bed in the new trains that have started operating over the last six months – and to prepare for the arrival of the new suburban trains later in the year.