Coronavirus updates: Great Northern and Thameslink ramp up service reduction
PUBLISHED: 11:11 20 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:20 20 March 2020
Thameslink and Great Northern has today said it will be reducing its service more and more due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), will start the gradual reduction from Monday, March 23 – followed by a further reduced timetable the following Monday.
The services will mainly run in the morning and evenings to suit key workers commuting.
Steve White, chief operating officer, GTR, said: “This is an unprecedented situation for everyone and we – together with the rest of the rail industry – are doing our utmost to keep an essential service running for key workers who are doing such vital jobs.
“The message from the Government is clear – travel only if you have to.
“The changes we are making should allow us to sustain a timetable for those who absolutely have to travel such as doctors, nurses and the emergency services. We want to thank them and our own staff, who are working so hard to keep trains running.”
Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions at the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said: “This is not a decision we take lightly, however implementing these measures now will mean that we can continue to operate trains over a prolonged period with fewer railway workers, who like so many others are to be commended for putting the needs of the country first, and whose safety remains front of mind.”
Welwyn Hatfield MP and Transport Secretary 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.”
Revised timetables will be available on Sunday, March 22 and on Sunday March 29. Trains could still be cancelled due to shortages of staff, for more see here nationalrail.co.uk.