Reduced rail timetable agreed.


  • Government and rail operators across the UK agree reductions in service levels following reduced passenger demand, as people change their travel patterns to help tackle spread of COVID-19
  • Move will keep core services running to ensure those who need to get to work, including emergency services and NHS, can continue to do so
  • Joint decision also enables important freight services to continue, ensuring sector can support movement of goods and supplies while passenger services continue for those most at need

The Government and the UK rail industry have agreed a plan that will see a gradual reduction in train services across the country to reflect lower passenger demand, while keeping vital rail services running.

Operators will continue to run core services ensuring people remain able to get to work, can travel to access medical appointments and the flow of goods continues across the UK.

The move reflects a decrease in passenger demand as people stop all unnecessary travel and decrease non-essential social contact in line with government’s advice to help stop the spread of the virus. Running reduced services will also help protect the welfare of frontline railway staff essential for day-to-day operations.

Rail services will be reduced from Monday 23rd of March and kept under review, with operators providing clear communications to ensure passengers who need to travel are well-informed of the changes.

There will be a gradual move towards introducing reduced service levels on wide parts of the network over the longer term. To minimise disruption, services will be reduced progressively across the network over the coming days.

The plan will also ensure key freight services can continue to move around the country, allowing vital goods to continue to be shipped where needed.

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps, said: 

We are taking decisive action to protect the public which means reducing travel for the time being, whilst still ensuring keyworker heroes can get to their jobs to keep this nation running.

For passengers in crucial roles, including essential workers in our emergency services and NHS, alongside people who need to attend medical appointments or care for loved ones, these changes protect the services they rely on. 

Our railways are at the heart of this country’s transport links, and we continue to work closely with the industry to develop measures that protects operators in these challenging times.

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