Coronavirus: more rail services restored with the reopening of schools

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Further rail services to England, Wales and Scotland will be available from Monday as the government encourages people to return to work.

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents rail operators and Network Rail, says around 90% of services will be in service.

The number of rail travelers is now back to about a third of pre-pandemic levels.

Rail companies “want people to feel confident about taking the train,” said Jacqueline Starr, director of Rail Delivery Group.

“The railways are doing everything they can to make sure people start the quarter with a smooth journey, including improving cleaning, providing disinfectant at stations, and providing better information on high-end services. frequented, ”she added.

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Rail operators across the country have designed the new schedule, taking into account potentially busy stations and parts of routes that will experience increased demand for school trips.

Where possible, more frequent services will be installed or additional cars will be added to create more space.

Staff will also be on hand to explain the rules for wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing with older children.

“Some train schedules will change, so we’re asking people to check before traveling and plan their trips at quieter times if possible,” Ms. Starr said.

Over the next few weeks, rail bosses have a delicate balance to strike.

They want more passengers to come back to the network, but they don’t want a flood of commuters cluttering up trains and stations.

So far, passenger numbers have remained low – on average, about a third of what it was before the pandemic.

Railways are not going back to where they were before the pandemic. Some services will not return. But in some places, at times, more capacity will be created.

During the pandemic, the government bore the enormous cost of operating railways without passengers.

So there is also a financial incentive for ministers to return passengers.

Rail companies are now struggling to manage the flow of passengers by warning people if a particular service is busy.

Some modern trains, such as those running on Southeastern and Govia Thameslink, can monitor the weight load in the cars, allowing them to estimate the number of people on board.

Southeastern plans to share the data with passengers so they can avoid a specific train.

The rail delivery group said the reduction in the schedule during the coronavirus lockdown and then the gradual increase in services again in stages had led to improvements in punctuality.

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Legend

Passengers are advised to check before traveling and plan their trip for quieter times


In particular, train operators and Network Rail had learned from the effects of “wear and tear” on rail infrastructure, the effects of “induced delays” caused to heavily used routers and the time it takes for trains to take place at each station. .

Call to resume work

At the end of August, the government launched an advertising campaign encouraging people to return to their workplaces.

Business leaders have warned of damage to city centers as people stay away from offices.

However, many employers do not plan to fire workers back to the office.

The BBC surveyed 50 large employers, from banks to retailers, to find out when they expected to ask employees to return to the office.

One of the main reasons given for the lack of substantial return was that companies saw no way to accommodate large numbers of staff while social distancing regulations were still in place.

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