This week, the coronavirus situation continues to cause havoc, but there is plenty of great, feel-good stories coming out of during this troubling time, as the #RailwayRainbows campaign kicks off to lift the mood of commuting key workers.
Here’s this weeks’ roundup:
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Rail journeys at just 5% of normal levels
Rail journeys in the UK are now at just 5% of normal levels, according to recent government figures, as passengers stay at home to avoid non-essential travel due to coronavirus.
Transport minister Chris Heaton-Harris told the House of Commons transport select committee in a parliamentary hearing – via video – that overall road traffic was also down 71% for last year, falling by 83% on the strategic road network.
London Underground tube journeys were down by a staggering 94%, while there were 80% fewer bus journeys than this last year, the minister said. The number of Cross-Channel Eurostar journeys was now just 1% of those taken daily in 2019. Read the full story.
Public invited to send in Railway Rainbows to lift key workers
Railway station teams are inviting the public to send in home-made pictures of rainbows to display at Bristol Temple Meads, Reading and London Paddington – in an effort to lift the mood of key worker commuters.
The Railway Rainbows project is open to all ages and follows a similar initiative many people have adopted across the country where they draw rainbows and place them in the windows of their homes. Find out how to get involved here.
Thieves target railway signalling cables
Metal thieves have disrupted the journeys of key workers after ripping out hundreds of metres of railway signalling cable.
Several locations have been targeted by thieves taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to carry out their crimes.
Network Rail says that this has jeopardised journeys for key workers like doctors and nurses, as well as disrupting freight trains carrying thousands of tonnes of food and products to supermarkets across the country. Read more here.
Serial rail ticket fraudster jailed for two years
A serial fraudster from Lancashire who scammed £40,000 from train companies through delay compensation schemes has been jailed for two years, following a lengthy investigation.
Thomas William Ingram, aged 34, of Fairfield Road, Blackpool, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to nine counts of Fraud against nine separate train operating companies. He was sentenced on Thursday, 19 March, at Preston Crown Court. Find out what the court heard here.
Grand Central to suspend services during COVID-19 restrictions
Grand Central will temporarily suspend all its train services from the end of today as coronavirus restrictions continue to affect passenger numbers.
The York-based operator, which runs services between Sunderland, Bradford and London Kings Cross, said the measures were ‘necessary but temporary’ and it anticipated services would cease for an initial two month period.
The company operates under an ‘Open Access’ business model and does not receive support from the Government. Get the full story.
In other news…
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National Rail Service Indicator
Gatwick Express services suspended until further notice
Grand Central service suspended until further notice
Hull Trains service temporarily suspended until further notice
Check all other services for reduced timetables
Transport For London Status Updates
With the Easter weekend approaching, and good weather predicted, TfL is reminding people that travel on the transport network is only for critical workers making absolutely essential journeys.
To help reduce the spread of coronavirus, no one else should be using the transport network, with TfL’s message being simple: stay at home, don’t travel, save lives.
The vast majority of people have followed the instructions of the Mayor and Government and have stopped travelling. The number of people using Tube and rail services has plummeted by around 95% and the number of people using buses by around 85%. This is essential to stop the spread of coronavirus.
It is essential that everyone follows the Mayor’s and Government instructions, continues not to travel and does not return to the transport network over Easter.
Our staff are working hard to support the NHS and protect all Londoners. Please help them and continue to follow the instructions not to travel for as long as it takes to defeat coronavirus.
Stay at home. Don’t travel. Save lives.
There are no planned track closures this weekend, but some stations are temporarily closed.
From Friday 10 until Monday 13 April, there will be no service between Sydenham and Crystal Palace. This is due to infrastructure work. On Sunday, use local buses between Anerley and Crystal Palace or Southern Railway services between Crystal Palace and Norwood Junction. On Friday, Saturday and Monday, use Southern Railway services between Sydenham and Crystal Palace.
On Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 April, there will be no service between:
Gospel Oak and Barking. Use alternative Tube routes between Seven Sisters and Walthamstow Central, and between East Ham and Barking. Use local buses between South Tottenham and Walthamstow Queens Road. Rail replacement buses will run between Walthamstow Central and Barking
Edmonton Green and Cheshunt. Cheshunt trains will run to Enfield Town after Edmonton Green. Use Greater Anglia services. Rail replacment buses will run every 30 minutes between Edmonton Green and Cheshunt
From Monday 13 until Thursday 16 April, there will be no service between Camden Road and Willesden Junction after 23:59 each night. This is due to Network Rail track work. The last two trains from Stratford will stop at Camden Road. Use local buses.
On Sunday 12 April, there will be no service between Paddington and Heathrow Terminal 4 until 05:50. This is due to signalling upgrade works. Use alternative Tube or local bus routes until 05:50.
Buses and roads
We are running a reduced service on all bus routes. Due to the following works, some buses may be diverted or stop short of their normal destination. Make sure you check before you travel.
Strand Underpass – Until Monday 13 April, Strand Underpass will be closed northbound. This is due to Westminster Council works.
Shoreditch – Until 30 September 2020, Shoreditch High Street will have a contra-flow reducing the width of the carriageway in both directions between Holywell Lane and New Yards Inn. This is due to Shoreditch Village development works.
London Bridge – Until 31 October 2020, London Bridge is closed to general traffic (except buses, licensed taxis, motorcyclists and cyclists). Diversions are in place and there are changes to the junction either side of the bridge. Please take extra care when driving while all users, including pedestrians, get used to the new layout.
TfL and Cyclehoop are providing free cycle parking for NHS workers at Finsbury Park secure cycle hub.
Enfield Council and Cyclehoop are also offering free parking at secure cycle hubs at Enfield Town and Edmonton Park stations. Email Cyclehoop or visit their website for more information.
Cycle hire docking stations at all royal parks will be shut during the Easter weekend and all weekends going forward until further notice.
The following docking stations will be out of service this weekend:
Eagle Wharf Road, Hoxton – for utility works today, Thursday 9 April
Hoxton Station, Hoxton – due to a power outage
Kensington Gore, Kensington – due to a power outage
Nesham Street, Wapping – due to a power outage
Eaton Square, Belgravia – due to a power outage
Paddington Green Police Station, Paddington – due to a power outage
West Midlands Metro
As people follow the latest government advice on avoiding all non-essential travel, the number of people using the Metro has reduced so we’re adjusting our services to meet the current needs of customers.
We recognise the need to maintain a regular, robust service for key workers and people who still need to travel for medical reasons, to support a vulnerable person, or for the collection of essential supplies. To help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, protect the NHS, and save lives we would urge you to only travel for these reasons.
In addition to the changes made to our Monday to Saturday timetable, introduced on Monday March 30, adjustments are now being made to our Sunday service, effective from Sunday, April 12.
The key changes to our timetable are as follows:
• Trams will be every 15 minutes from the start of service on Sundays
• The first trams travelling the full route will leave Wolverhampton St George’s at 07:55 and Library at 08:00
• The last trams travelling the full route will leave Wolverhampton St George’s at 22:55 and Library at 23:00
From Monday to Saturday, trams will continue to operate as follows:
• Start of service until 06:30 – Trams every 15 minutes
• Between 06:30 and 20:00 – Trams every 12 minutes
• From 20:00 until the end of service – Trams every 15 minutes
• The first trams travelling the full route will leave Wolverhampton St George’s at 05:15 and Library at 05:07
• The last trams travelling the full route will leave Wolverhampton St George’s at 23:27 and Library at 23:34
Tyne & Wear Metro
Travel only if absolutely essential.
Trains are running to a reduced frequency. A train every 24 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes on an evening. Please leave extra time for your journey.
Do not travel unless it is absolutely essential – stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.
You must only make trips that are absolutely necessary for work, to get supplies, to care for others or for medical reasons.
You can walk, run, cycle or take other exercise once a day in areas close to your home.
Train, tram and bus services have been reduced, but services are still running for key workers.
NHS staff and social care workers are being offered free Metrolink travel for essential work journeys when they are unable to drive, cycle or walk to work. This will be introduced from Saturday 11 April.
If you have to make an essential journey, check timetables before you travel.
A small number of TfGM school bus services are running to schools which remain open, and are free for the children of key workers to use.
Nottingham Express Transit
We understand that people are concerned about exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) while using public transport and would like to assure them that the safety and wellbeing of customers and employees remains our highest priority.
The number of people travelling has reduced as people follow government advice and avoid non-essential use of public transport. We recognise however that some people still need to travel and you need certainty from us on what services we can provide. As of Tuesday 24 March 2020, a Sunday timetable will operate throughout the week:
6AM – 7AM: every 15 minutes
7AM – 7PM: every 10 minutes
7PM – 11PM: every 15 minutes
We are reviewing the situation daily, and should further timetable changes become necessary we will provide notice to all passengers via our website, newsletters and social media channels.
Merseyrail Service Status
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are now operating a reduced timetable. Trains will now operate a 30-minute service on all lines between 07:00 -19:00 Monday to Saturday, with a limited additional service from 19:00 to 22:00 on some lines. Trains will operate between 08:00 – 20:00 on Sundays. Please remember our services are for key workers and essential journeys only. Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.
From Saturday 28 March the Subway will operate on one circle only. We will continue to run the Outer Circle operating clockwise from Govan and stopping at all stations offering an eight-minute servicefrom 6:30am to approx. 9pm Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 6pm on Sunday. The last train from Govan to the City Centre will depart at 20:42. The last train will leave the City Centre for Govan at 20:55. The last train to leave the City Centre and go to all stations is 8:30pm.
Due to the current government guidelines surrounding the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the use of public transport we have seen a reduction in customer demand.
We have decided to tailor the service to the needs of the customer, while taking into account the availability of staff.
The first tram and last tram will run at their usual time, but customers should expect trams to operate every 15 minutes during the day with this being kept under constant review.Enjoy more of The Railway Magazine reading every month. Click here to subscribe.