Northern is asking customers in the North West to check before they travel this weekend as the rail operator continues to feel the impact of coronavirus.
Northern is running reduced frequency of services and short notice cancellations are expected after many conductors and drivers were either diagnosed with COVID-19 or asked to self-isolate following Track and Trace notifications.
Chris Jackson, Regional Director at Northern, said: “Last weekend was difficult because of the impact of coronavirus, and the situation has not improved this week. The decision to change our train plan has not been taken lightly and, in doing so, we have had to balance the demand for services with our realistic ability to provide a reliable and punctual service for our customers. We have opted to reduce frequency so we can maintain a service on most of our routes and keep customers on the move”
The ‘check before you travel’ message is being recommended across the country. Robert Nisbet, Director of Nations and Regions at the Rail Delivery Group said: “Companies are working hard to keep passengers safely on the move as restrictions ease and more people travel to work or to see friends and family.
As cases increase more rail employees could be pinged by the NHS contact tracing app and be asked to self-isolate. While train companies are doing everything they can to minimise any disruption, there may be an impact on services so we are asking people to check before they travel using app alerts which were upgraded during the pandemic as part of our safer travel pledge.”
Northern is also advising customers to expect busier services on Sunday night, particularly in larger towns and cities, following the Euro 2020 Final between England and Italy
The rail operator is asking those planning to travel on Sunday night to think carefully about their journeys and not to wait until the last train home and in some cases, find an alternative method of travel.
Chris added: “Of course, many people will want to support England and will be travelling to pubs and bars to watch the match.
“With kick off at 8pm with reduced number of services and possible short notice cancellations, that only leaves a handful of trains on our key routes after the match to get people home and we’re asking our customers to plan ahead and to use all available services or alternative methods of travel. We’ll have buses on standby in many places to assist, but customers can help by staggering their journeys and not all waiting for the last train home.”