Posted 26th July 2021 | 3 Comments

Train operators slash timetables as staff self-isolate

THE timetables of a number of train operators are being reduced from today, because large numbers of staff have been 'pinged' and advised to self-isolate for up to 10 days.

The reductions have come just at the time that the holiday season is expected to pick up, with more people taking a break in Britain rather than going abroad this year because of continuing uncertainties over international travel.

One of the operators affected is Great Western Railway, which is temporarily axeing a mixture of local trains in the Bristol area and also some intercity services between London and Bristol or Plymouth. In Cornwall, some trains to holiday destinations like Looe and Newquay are being replaced by road transport.

Some services are also being suspended by LNER, Thameslink, Southern, South Western Railway, Great Northern, Chiltern Railways, Merseyrail, ScotRail and Transport for Wales.

East Midlands Railway is cutting some of its Regional services. Avanti West Coast is reducing its London-Manchester and London-Birmingham timetables to one train an hour on each route, while there will be only one train a day between London and North Wales, supported by a shuttle service between Holyhead and Crewe.

Meanwhile, the RMT‎ is demanding 'urgent clarification and discussions' on the reported expansion of isolation exemptions for some transport workers.

The union's general secretary Mick Lynch said: 'It is ludicrous that this announcement has been made without any discussion with the unions or detailed briefing on who this scheme is supposed to cover and how it will be implemented. This cavalier approach seems to be aimed at hitting headlines rather than mapping a serious way out of the current crisis. ‎It leaves our members facing yet more uncertainty.'

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Kathleen Danby, Kirkwall, Orkney

    What about ScotRail? They have suspended all seat reservations, so they have no idea how many passengers are on any given train. There have been reports of packed trains operating, and passengers being threatened by non-masked yobs. When this has been brought to the attention of BTP (See it, say it, sorted!) it has not been "sorted", and the guard has not made an appearance throughout the whole journey! Might as well rename their intercity trains "The Covid Express"!

  • Jez Milton, Manchester

    The National Rail website says Avanti has reduced its services because trains are still near-empty. Which is it? I haven't seen any services "rampacked".

  • Steve Alston, Glassel Estate, Aberdeenshire

    Major operator Avanti West Coast has withdrawn two thirds of it's Manchester London services due to no train managers (guards), leaving them ram-packed. Makes me wonder that at the start of the Pandemic, tickets / revenue should have been totally suspended for operationally critical TMs (guards), and work the train from the safety of the rear cab and NOT the goldfish bowl next to the shop.
    Onboard revenue should have temporarily been left to gateline and RPI/AFC staff paying them ticket comission as compensation for their temporary change of job grade. FirstGroup should be questioned as to why they allowed 'business as usual' totally stop trains running.