TIMETABLES on many lines are being increased to around 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels from today, as children return to school and more commuters are set to travel to offices again, at least on some days each week.
One priority is to maintain social distancing on board trains, so units are being lengthened where possible said the Rail Delivery Group, whose train operator members are also anxious to maintain recent improvements in punctuality.
The operators have worked closely with schools and other education providers to identify potentially busy stations or trains. Not only will trains be lengthened where possible, but staff will also be on hand to explain to older children the rules on wearing a face covering and maintaining social distancing.
National Rail’s ‘Alert me by Messenger’ service flags up busy trains, and it is now sending more than a million message a month to 100,000 passengers.
Rail Delivery Group chief operating officer Jacqueline Starr said: ‘We want people to feel confident taking the train as they get back to school and adding services back into the timetable where they’re most needed will support that. Rail companies are doing everything they can to ensure people start the term with a smooth journey, including boosting cleaning, providing sanitiser at stations and offering better information about busy services. Some train times will change so we’re asking people to check before they travel and plan their journeys for quieter times if possible.’