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Train operators slash timetables as staff self-isolate

THE timetables of a number of train operators are being reduced from today, because large numbers of staff have been ‘pinged’ and advised to self-isolate for up to 10 days.

The reductions have come just at the time that the holiday season is expected to pick up, with more people taking a break in Britain rather than going abroad this year because of continuing uncertainties over international travel.

One of the operators affected is Great Western Railway, which is temporarily axeing a mixture of local trains in the Bristol area and also some intercity services between London and Bristol or Plymouth. In Cornwall, some trains to holiday destinations like Looe and Newquay are being replaced by road transport.

Some services are also being suspended by LNER, Thameslink, Southern, South Western Railway, Great Northern, Chiltern Railways, Merseyrail, ScotRail and Transport for Wales.

East Midlands Railway is cutting some of its Regional services. Avanti West Coast is reducing its London-Manchester and London-Birmingham timetables to one train an hour on each route, while there will be only one train a day between London and North Wales, supported by a shuttle service between Holyhead and Crewe.

Meanwhile, the RMT‎ is demanding ‘urgent clarification and discussions’ on the reported expansion of isolation exemptions for some transport workers.

The union’s general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘It is ludicrous that this announcement has been made without any discussion with the unions or detailed briefing on who this scheme is supposed to cover and how it will be implemented. This cavalier approach seems to be aimed at hitting headlines rather than mapping a serious way out of the current crisis. ‎It leaves our members facing yet more uncertainty.’

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