Commuter fury at Covid train cuts - what are the emergency train timetables for London?

Passengers blasted under-fire operator Southern Rail as “not very good” and criticised train companies for poor communication over service changes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Commuters at a London railway station have told of the chaotic “cancellations” and “timetable changes” disrupting their lives.

Passengers blasted under-fire operator Southern Rail as “not very good” and criticised train companies for poor communication over service changes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Many operators have brought in Covid-19 emergency changes to their timetables due to major staff shortages and the spread of the Omicron variant, sparking discontent from users.

It comes after reports of major changes to train services following the pandemic, as ministers agreed to begin wrapping up a £16bh bailout package to support them through the crisis.

Homeworking has become the new normal (Image: Getty Images)

Cuts risk becoming permanent after the transport department urged operators to save cash.

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Speaking to LondonWorld at Clapham Junction station, commuter Michael Oleford, who works as a surveyor, said: “Southern Rail isn’t very good at all.

“There’s always cancellations. Today the first train was delayed and I was waiting there for about 20 minutes and I subsequently missed my second connection.”

While another passenger, who did not give their name, added: “There are timetable changes at the moment but we’re not being told when the services are going to run back to normal.

“They’re saying Covid cases are reducing the timable but they seem to be lifting now.”

East Coast Main Line Train Pic Lisa Ferguson 21/02/2018 East Coast Train Line - Virgin and Cross Country Trains

Dorset MP Chris Loder criticised South Western Railway (SWR) in the House of Commons on Thursday, February 3, for “totally cutting off” counties in the southwest from the capital.

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The prime minister claimed services were set to be restored on February 19 - but SWR is yet to confirm a set date for the end of its emergency schedule, but said it is "developing plans".

While the Times newspaper has reported most lines are running at 78% of pre-Covid figures.

Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park, Sarah Olney, said: “A miserable Monday morning commute will be the new normal if London's train timetable isn't restored. Ministers need to get a grip and order rail companies to bring back our trains.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said action was needed quickly to tackle London’s air quality issues (Photo: Dominic Lipinski/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

“In the middle of a cost of living crisis rail fares are about to rise by the highest amount in a decade. Cuts in services are leaving thousands across the capital and commuter belt left stranded on cold platforms.

“This is a depressing step backward for what should be a city recovering after a tough pandemic.”

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Transport chaos in the capital also extends to the Tube network, with TfL at risk of a £1.5bn funding black hole, after the government failed to agree a cash deal from Friday, February 3.

Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned he could close the entire system for days, close bridges and tunnels, bring in a road user charge, hike up council tax and extend congestion charges.

Schemes to improve walking and cycling and cut road deaths could be put on ice, while upgrades to the Piccadilly and Jubilee lines may have to be put on hold.

What are the Covid-19 timetable changes affecting trains into London?

Chiltern Railways

A spokesperson for the rail service has said: “Some trains across the network may be subject to short-notice cancellations and alterations.

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“This is due to the impact of Covid-19 on train crew availability.

“The majority of train services will continue to run as scheduled, and Chiltern Railways are doing everything they can to run the full timetable.

“However, you are advised to check your journey before travelling.”

For more information, visit: https://www.chilternrailways.co.uk/

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The line has been running a reduced weekday timetable since January 17 due to sickness.

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From Monday, a recovery timetable will return and 12-car trains will operate at peak times.

A spokesperson said: “There are no changes at this stage to standard weekend services.

“However Network Rail are undertaking significant engineering works throughout the spring. We recommend you check for service alterations if you are planning your weekend travel.”

East Midlands Railway

EMR has also been operating a reduced timetable, due to Covid-related absences.

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It says it has removed 4% of services, some of which will be reinstated on February 14.

Services from London St Pancras to Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield are affected.

Gatwick Express

No services will run until further notice, due to ongoing coronavirus isolation and sickness.

Passengers are asked to use alternative Southern services to complete their journeys.

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Great Northern Rail

GNR is operating a reduced timetable on all routes until further notice, due to staff sickness.

A spokesperson said: “The times of trains on all routes have changed and, on many routes, services have been reduced. The times of first and last trains may also have changed.”

Routes will be updated on February 21 and February 28, with more direct routes to London Victoria.

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Great Western Railway

GWR is running a temporary timetable from January 8, due to staff absences and isolation.

A spokesperson said: “The temporary timetable will be updated on a weekly basis and is only expected to be in operation for a short time - until the impact of Omicron has reduced.”

Greater Anglia

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GA is set to update services from February 7, adding more trains to its weekday timetables.

A spokesperson said: “Please check your journey on our website before you travel in case of any updates to train times.

“Now Plan B restrictions have been lifted, we’re looking forward to welcoming more passengers back on our trains.”

More services will run to London Liverpool Street and back, and intercity services to Norwich will become half-hourly for most of the day, while all the usual regional services will run.

For more information, visit: https://www.greateranglia.co.uk/ttsummary

Heathrow Express

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Services are all running as normal.

Visit https://www.heathrowexpress.com for more details.

London Northwestern Railway

The LNR updated its services in February.

A spokesperson said: “With the situation beginning to improve, we are now in a position to reinstate some services on these routes.”

Services from Watford Junction will run a full train timetable on weekends, and from Monday, February 21, the majority of weekday services will be served by train.

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South Western Railway

A spokesperson has said: “Having seen an increase in staff availability over recent days, we’re pleased to be able to reintroduce the key services.”

Trains during morning peak hours have been reintroduced into London Waterloo from across the south of England.

Southeastern and Southeastern Highspeed Rail

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At the end of January, a Southeastern Rail spokesperson said: “Our December timetable has been fully restored today, including those trains which were withdrawn on January 10.

“We’re very much looking forward to welcoming you back onto our trains.”

Southern Rail

Southern Rail is running a reduced timetable on all routes until further notice.

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A spokesperson said: “The times of trains on all routes have changed and, on many routes, services have been reduced. The times of first and last trains may also have changed.”

More changes will be announced on February 21 and February 28.

Thameslink

Thameslink is running a reduced timetable until further notice.

Until February 18, London Victoria services are running only to certain destinations and from February 28, there will be further service changes across the network.

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Have you been affected by rail changes? Let us know on Twitter @LondonWorldCom.