Rail services have been affected by the worst cancellation period ever, according to industry data.
As a result of Covid-related staff shortages and strike actions, 4.4 per cent of rail services across the UK were cancelled between 12 December and 8 January, PA news agency reported.
According to data, since 2014 only two four-week periods registered worse cancellation records, one in February 2018 when 4.9 per cent of trains was slashed because of severe snow and the other in December 2019 when Northern and TransPennine Express faced severe issues.
In the last month, several train operators – including South Western Railway (SWR) and Avanti West Coast as well as ScotRail and Greater Anglia – were forced to slash hundreds of services because of Omicron-induced staff shortages.
From today SWR’s journey planners are adjusted on a weekly basis while until the end of February, Avanti West Coast will run four trains per hour between London and Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow, City A.M. reported.
“The temporary timetables that rail companies are putting in place, with government support, will help ensure more reliable services with fewer short notice cancellations so that we can continue to get people and goods to where they need to be,” said Susie Homan, Rail Delivery Group’s director of people, operations and railway strategy on 5 January.
“It makes sense to better match the number of trains that are running with the number of people travelling so that the industry gets the most out of every taxpayer pound and doesn’t take more than its fair share of public money.”