WEST Midlands Railway – the operator of the direct services between Stratford and Birmingham – will begin a new timetable from next week while keeping to the rail industry’s commitment to operate regular services during the coronavirus crisis.
Passenger numbers are continuing to fall and increased numbers of rail staff are self-isolating, so the operator – along with sister company London Northwestern Railway – has announced further changes will take effect from Monday, 6th April.
The latest timetable has been designed to keep as many services running as possible if part of the network has to close due to the increased impact of Covid-19.
West Midlands Railway’s managing director Julian Edwards said: “The rail industry is facing our biggest challenge in peacetime. We are working together to operate a regular service for our key workers and those making only the most essential journeys.
“With increased numbers of rail workers entering self-isolation due to coronavirus and a big drop in passenger numbers, now is the right time to make further changes to our service. As the government has made clear, people should only use the train for essential journeys.
“I would like to pay special tribute to our front-line staff, including drivers, conductors, dispatchers, station teams, engineers, cleaners and those in our control centres. Their hard work and dedication to keeping the trains running are helping key workers save lives.”
The new timetable, which will be available to view at www.wmr.uk/coronavirus from tomorrow, Friday, has been built in ‘chunks’ to reduce the length of journeys taken by an individual train.
The frequency of trains has been reduced on some routes.
Some routes will no longer receive a West Midlands Railway service, including:
- Worcester to Hereford (no alternative direct operator)
- None of its trains will call at Bearley and Claverdon (also served by Chiltern Railways)