Sun. Jun 7th, 2020

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Travel News: Train Services see a Boost as The Corona Virus Impacts Flights

2 min read

According to The Guardian Train Companies in London will increase the number of services on Monday due to the ease of travel restrictions around Britain.

Industry body the Rail Delivery Group said services would be increased from about 50% of the standard timetable to 70%.

But in a bid to enable physical distancing, capacity will be reduced to as little as 10% of normal levels, and passengers are being urged to avoid non-essential travel. British Transport Police will have more officers at London stations in a bid to control crowds.

Will Rogers, the managing director at East Midlands Railway, said the new timetable “will only allow a small rise in the number of passengers we can accommodate”.

He added: “We urge everyone to only go by train if it is necessary and keep public transport for key workers and those who must travel.”

Passengers travelling by train are being asked to wear a face covering and keep a 2-metre distance from other people where possible. Transport operators are being urged by the government to rearrange, remove or limit seating “to try and ensure social distancing is observed”.

This may include blocking off seats in close proximity to others and removing face-to-face seating.

Passengers using London North Eastern Railway are allowed to board trains only if they hold a reservation as well as a ticket.

The operator is asking passengers to sit in a window seat, with one person per row of four seats, and two empty rows between each passenger.

People travelling as a household will be allowed to sit together but must maintain “a safe distance” from other passengers.

Avanti West Coast warned its customers that anyone without a reservation may not be able to travel on their choice of train due to capacities being limited to around a quarter of normal levels.

Train operator Northern said there would be “significantly reduced capacity on each and every one of our trains”.

The number of rail services have been reduced for weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic causing a collapse in demand and a rise in staff sickness.

But the government is now urging people in England to go to work if they cannot work from home. Advice in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales remains that people should stay at home.

Meanwhile, the Rail, Maritime and Transport union described the increase in train services as a “high-risk strategy” and expressed concern that “rushed political considerations could well override the safety issues for staff and passengers”.

The union has called for new compulsory protections for passengers and rail workers, including the enforcement of 2-metre social distancing on trains and the compulsory wearing of face masks by passengers, which should be provided for free at stations and be able to be disposed of safely.

Mick Cash, the RMT general secretary, said: “We are opposed to the early relaxation of lockdown measures and believe that non-essential workers should avoid using trains. When people absolutely must use a train, there should be new compulsory protections.

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