WEST Midlands Railway will slash the number of trains it operates by half from Monday as more people self-isolate and work from home.
The reduced schedule is in response to the fall in demand which has come about from the public travelling less to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Passengers have reported trains being emptier in the past week as the coronavirus situation has worsened.
A number of rail workers have also self-isolated which has left the operator with less staff and some services in the past few weeks have already been cancelled because of ‘a lack of train crew’.
On the Cross-City line four trains rather than six per hour will operate between Lichfield and Longbridge, vis Birmingham New Street.
Two will then continue to Bromsgrove and two to Redditch (rather than the usual three).
With other cuts on other lines the reduced timetable overall, which is currently being finalised, equates to just over half the usual weekday level of service across the West Midlands Trains network.
Commuters who do need to travel are being advised to check the timetable so they know when the services they need are running.
Julian Edwards, managing director of West Midlands Railway, said: “Revising our timetable is the most effective way of making sure we continue to run a regular, reliable service to keep people moving in these exceptional circumstances.
“Like every employer in the country we have a number of our staff currently in self-isolation and attempting to continue with our regular timetable would be impossible.
“Although demand for rail travel has dropped, we know there are many thousands of people who need to keep moving, including NHS workers and others involved in delivering essential public services.
“That is why our front-line staff will continue coming to work in order to deliver this timetable and help keep the country moving.”
Passengers should visit www.wmr.uk/coronavirus for the latest information and to see a copy of the timetable which will be available soon.
Online journey planners will be updated with the new train times by Sunday afternoon – visit www.wmr.uk/plan for live travel information or follow @WestMidRailway on Twitter.
Click here for more on changes to buses and trains during the coronavirus pandemic.