South Western Railway (SWR) today announces it will be operating a revised ‘key worker’ timetable, following the Government’s advice regarding the outbreak of COVID-19.
SWR will reduce the number of services it will be running from Monday 23 March, following the Government’s announcement urging people to avoid all but essential travel in order to help limit the spread of the highly contagious virus.
The spread of the COVID-19 means that like at most other organisations, more of our staff are having to follow advice to stay at home unwell and self-isolate for up to 14 days. By reducing the number of trains running, we can focus on ensuring a reliable timetable for passengers who still have to travel, especially healthcare professionals, police and fire service workers.
Other passengers are urged to follow the latest Government advice and only travel if necessary: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance.
Those who need to should check before they travel on southwesternrailway.com/coronavirus, nationalrail.co.uk or via @SW_Help on Twitter.
Some alterations to services will continue in the meantime due to last minute cancellations from staff being unavailable, before the amended timetable is introduced on Monday.
Mark Hopwood, SWR’s Managing Director, said:
“We’ve decided to operate a revised ‘Key Worker’ timetable from Monday 23 March onwards.
“With the Government advising people only to travel if it’s essential, and with some of our team needing to follow advice and self-isolate, running fewer trains means we can offer a more reliable timetable that still gets key workers, such as doctors and nurses, to and from work.
“The outbreak has put the country in a unique place, but it’s vital our industry helps its day-to-day running. Our colleagues are working hard to ensure services are running so passengers who can’t stay at home get where they need to be when they need to be there.
“The safety of our customers and colleagues is our top priority, and like the rest of the country, we’re doing our bit to reduce the spread of coronavirus and continue to follow the latest Government advice.”
John Halsall, Network Rail Southern Region Managing Director, said:
"It’s so important for this country that key workers are able to get to work and vital freight supplies can continue to be delivered, and we’re proud to be playing our part.
"I’m so impressed by their dedication and of our railway colleagues too. Network Rail are working closely with our train operators on new timetables and we're continuing to maintain and renew the railway, so that we can keep trains running and people moving, despite the difficult circumstances."