Timetables amended to reflect COVID conditions
Operators including Chiltern Railways, ScotRail and TransPennine Express are introducing reduced or amended timetables this December.
TPE said it was currently running around 80% of its pre-COVID-19 services, and that it was adding extra carriages where possible to support social distancing.
From December 14, there will still be an hourly TPE service from Manchester Airport-Redcar, while Liverpool Lime Street-Newcastle trains will additionally call at Lea Green. An hourly shuttle service between York and Scarborough will be introduced, reducing the gaps in the current service. This will mainly be formed of Mk 5As.
The Manchester Piccadilly-Cleethorpes service will be enhanced to run hourly, while the Manchester-Hull, Leeds-Huddersfield and Huddersfield-Manchester services continue to run hourly. Edinburgh Waverley-Manchester Airport services will continue to run two-hourly, with only occasional services running to Glasgow Central.
Chiltern introduced an amended timetable from November 16, removing 31 trains across the whole week. It was planned that these measures would last until the scheduled end of the English lockdown on December 2.
From November 23, c2c ran a reduced timetable in response to the effect the pandemic has had on available operational staff, as well as the significant downturn in passenger numbers.
The operator said that in October, the number of daily travellers had risen to 42% of pre-COVID levels, but that has since fallen to 30%. c2c is now targeting capacity and resources at the current busiest times, which are early morning, late afternoon, and school trains to Southend.
The frequency of off-peak and late-night services is being reduced, although these will run as eight-car trains instead of four to maximise space for social distancing.
North of the Border, ScotRail is finalising plans to reduce services to better reflect demand. It said that on average 80% fewer people were travelling than before the pandemic.
Confirming that some services would be removed, SR said there were many factors to consider, including the shift from traditional peak times as a result of flexible working hours and more people working from home.