Train services are increasing due to demand from office workers and school kids - here’s which ones

Monday, 7th September 2020, 3:50 pm
Updated Monday, 7th September 2020, 3:50 pm

Train companies have started increasing their services due to growing demand as schools reopen and workers are urged to return to offices.

According to industry body the Rail Delivery Group, train timetables are now rising to roughly 90 percent of pre-lockdown levels.

This increase will provide additional trains and more carriages on many routes across the nation to keep up with demand.

The changes coincide with figures suggesting a "modest" rise in demand since the August Bank Holiday weekend.

The government has been urging workers to return to the office in recent weeks due to fears that if the majority continue to work from home, it will financially damage city centres.

What is the risk in returning to public transport?

Despite the government's pleas, many are still apprehensive about returning to the office while a vaccine has not yet been found.

A large reported factor behind workers’ reluctance to return to the office was fears about the safety of public transport amid the ongoing pandemic.

However, a recent study by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) found that the risk of contracting coronavirus on an average journey is below 0.01 percent - the equivalent of 1 infection for every 11,000 journeys.

According to a blog post on the RSSB website, the average journey on which they based their study was “for an hour-long train journey in a carriage with no social distancing or face coverings.

“The report also shows that the risk more than halves if passengers wear a face covering”, the blog post reads.

Will social distancing be possible onboard?

Rail industry chiefs believe the increased capacity on their train lines will allow passengers to adhere to social distancing while travelling.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of passenger watchdog Transport Focus, said, "The rail industry must focus on maintaining good performance so that passengers can travel with confidence.

"Disruption and any crowding from this will be especially unwelcome and has the potential to damage trust in the railway."

Southeastern is now restoring its timetables to 98 percent of its pre pandemic levels.

To achieve this, it is adding a further 900 carriages to its services as well as an additional 50,000 seats to its weekday services from 7 September.

LNER is another company adding extra services.

It is adding 10 Anglo-Scottish services to its timetables, travelling to destinations such as Doncaster, York, Peterborough and Newcastle to name a few.