Half of all rail services may be cut due to ‘ghost trains’


Half of all rail services may be cut due to ‘ghost trains’: Routes could be slashed again amid predicted slump in passengers during third lockdown

  • An emergency timetable would be introduced in a bid to cut service levels  
  • Aim is to reduce number of so-called ‘ghost trains’ which carry no passengers 
  • Expected number of services will increase again if action is not taken  

Rail services could be slashed again under proposals being drawn up by officials after England was plunged into a third national lockdown.

An emergency timetable would be introduced in a bid to cut service levels to between 50 and 60 per cent of those before the pandemic.

The aim would be to reduce the number of so-called ‘ghost trains’, which carry no passengers, on the network, which lumber taxpayers with huge bills after the Government stepped in to keep operators afloat.

Rail services could be slashed again under proposals being drawn up by officials after England was plunged into a third national lockdown

It is expected the number of such services will increase again if action is not taken, with all but essential trips outside the home now banned.

Key workers, such as NHS staff, will be able to continue using services.

The changes could mirror the so-called ‘Sunday-plus’ service introduced for the first lockdown last March. 

For instance, Avanti West Coast, which runs services between London, the Midlands and the North, ran nine trains per hour in and out of London Euston pre-pandemic.

This dropped to four during the first lockdown and stood at six before Christmas. 

For instance, Avanti West Coast, which runs services between London, the Midlands and the North, ran nine trains per hour in and out of London Euston pre-pandemic

For instance, Avanti West Coast, which runs services between London, the Midlands and the North, ran nine trains per hour in and out of London Euston pre-pandemic

Ministers have effectively nationalised the network by guaranteeing operators made a profit in return for keeping services running for key workers.

The rail industry bailout is expected to top £9billion by March this year.

Scaling down services is expected to take between ten days and two weeks. The Department for Transport said it was working with operators to assess the right level of service provision.

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