Rail (UK)

Warn­ing of re­duc­tions in ser­vices

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A se­nior in­dus­try source ex­pects a re­duc­tion in train ser­vices, due to the steep de­cline in pas­sen­ger num­bers as a re­sult of COVID-19.

“Some routes will be able to sup­port strength­ened ser­vices, while oth­ers could have a re­duced ser­vice level but in­creased ca­pac­ity through longer trains,” the source said.

“Look at the bus world - there’s so­cial iso­la­tion in com­mu­ni­ties as ser­vices have been cut. We must avoid that. But we have to stop be­ing purists and be busi­ness­fo­cused. We can­not just re­in­state trains be­cause we used to run them be­fore.

“We could still run 80% of ser­vices, but that’s a lot of trains that could come out.”

Ad­dress­ing the Trans­port Select

Com­mit­tee hear­ing on Novem­ber 18, Rail Min­is­ter Chris HeatonHar­ris told MPs: “There has been no con­ver­sa­tion that I have had with the Sec­re­tary of State or any­one else to say that in ‘X’ pe­riod of time we will need to cut ser­vices.”

He later added: “We want to make sure that places are still con­nected. We have asked op­er­a­tors to look at where their pas­sen­ger de­mand is and to look at what ser­vices are re­quired to ser­vice that de­mand prop­erly.

“Then we can look at whether we need to ex­tend ser­vices or whether we can af­ford to run slightly fewer, or what­ever it might be. We are at the early stages of try­ing to build that pic­ture at the mo­ment.”

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