COMMUTERS using South Western Railway services are being warned that a reduced timetable will be in place from Monday, as the company reacts to the coronavirus.
And some alterations to services will continue in the meantime due to last-minute cancellations from staff being unavailable before the amended timetable is introduced.
The train operator said that the decision comes after the Government’s announcement urging people to avoid all but essential travel to help limit the spread of the contagious virus.
And the company said that some of its staff members are self-isolating for up to 14 days.
The company said that by reducing the number of trains running, so it can focus on ensuring a reliable timetable for passengers who still have to travel, especially healthcare professionals, police and fire service workers.
It runs services from Reading to London Waterloo, with stations in the borough including Earley, Winnersh and Wokingham.
Mark Hopwood, South Western Railway’s Managing Director, said: “We’ve decided to operate a revised timetable from Monday, March 23 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.”
And John Halsall, Network Rail Southern Region’s managing director, echoed the call for the reduced services, which the government announced early this morning.
He also said that Network Rail had been liaising with all train companies to produce the service revisions.
“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,” he explained.
“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.”
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.