Local train services to be hit due to staff absences
Omicron virus has meant staff need to self-isolate
South Western Railway has warned train services may be cancelled at short notice and services cut after Covid hit staff across the company.
The increase in cases of the Omicron Covid variant has been to blame as more staff are sick at home and self-isolating.
The train company will introduce a new trimmed down timetable from Monday, January 17 with fewer trains running.
South Western Railway has warned that until the new timetable is operating, the number of short notice cancellations will increase.
It comes as the highly transmissible Omicron Covid variant has spread rapidly across the UK over the last few weeks.
This Sunday (9 January) saw 141,472 Coronavirus cases reported in the UK and 97 deaths.
From this Monday, (10 January), Southeastern trains will also move to an emergency timetable due to huge numbers of staff self-isolating.
A South Western Railway spokesperson, said: “The onset of the Omicron variant has led to a shortage of staff across our business – from drivers and guards to engineers and controllers.
“These staff shortages have inevitably had a significant impact on our services, leading to short notice cancellations.”
They added: “As a result, we will be introducing a new, consolidated timetable from Monday January 17.
“Our focus is on producing a timetable that is deliverable, so that we improve reliability for our customers, and caters to key workers, school pupils and those who cannot work from home.
“Until the introduction of the new timetable on January 17, our services will still be subject to short notice cancellations. We are asking customers to check to make sure their planned train is running as close to their time of travel as possible.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused to our customers.”
South Western Railway said it will be publishing further details on its new timetable shortly.
James Mayer - Local Democracy Reporter
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January 10, 2022