Thursday 14 January 2021 12:01 am

Train services cut by a quarter during national lockdown

UK train services will be cut down to below three-quarters of normal levels amid a sharp decline in passenger numbers during the third national lockdown.

Brits have been urged to check before they travel as some services will be cancelled and others will change times while tougher restrictions are in place.

Read more: HS2 minister: Covid crisis has ‘strengthened’ case for high speed rail link

The fresh cuts mean train services will be at roughly 72 per cent of pre-Covid levels, compared to 87 per cent of pre-Covid levels before the latest lockdown.

The reduced timetables, agreed between train companies and the government, will focus on morning and evening and peak travel times to allow key workers to commute to work.

They have also been designed to maintain enough space for social distancing measures.

Operators will continue to monitor and adapt services to ensure they meet demand.

Read more: On track: First passenger trains run on Northern line Tube extension

“Changing to a reduced timetable during this period of much lower demand will deliver certainty for those people who need to travel while saving taxpayers’ money,” said Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions for the Rail Delivery Group.

“We ask people to check before they travel in the weeks ahead and we thank our frontline rail staff whose hard work is keeping other key workers moving.” 

People whose travel plans have been affected by the latest lockdown can change their date of travel, request a refund or apply for a travel voucher depending on the type of ticket they have purchased.

Train companies have paid out over £500m in refunds since the start of the pandemic.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of watchdog Transport Focus, said train timetables still had to meet the needs of people who have to travel for work.

Read more: Rail services to be axed under Government plans: reports

“Many key workers rely on the first and last services of the day so it’s important that these are maintained,” he said. 

“Providing enough capacity for those who are travelling to properly social distance remains vital.”