South Western Railway (SWR) has followed in the footsteps of operators such as Greater Anglia and ScotRail and introduced a temporary timetable as a result of the spread of Omicron.
From 17 January, journey planners will be adjusted on a weekly basis, with updates being communicated toward the end of each week.
Remaining under review for the foreseeable future, the changes will include services such as Waterloo to Alton and Waterloo to Basingstoke becoming hourly, with the last train of each day leaving earlier than at present. Services from Waterloo to Exeter and Weymouth will also be split at Salisbury and Bournemouth respectively.
“The spread of the Omicron variant has had a significant impact on our railway, with fewer people using the train and staff shortages impacting on our ability to consistently deliver the current timetable,” said SWR’s managing director Claire Mann.
“Having assessed demand and spoken to our industry colleagues, we believe this new timetable is the most effective means of ensuring our customers receive a reliable service, with short-notice cancellations minimised.”
On Monday, Southern Rail services returned to London Victoria after halting all services following a Covid-induced staffing crisis. Speaking to City A.M., the operator said it would “probably” not re-introduce all services to the station this week.