Mohammad Yasin MP
From Monday, new rail timetables will be put in place to reflect the easing of lockdown and inevitable increased rail use.
As a starting point, passengers are being encouraged to avoid public transport where they have alternatives, this is to protect as much space as possible for those who must use it. This is because even as public transport begins to return to a full service, the 2-metre social distancing rule will leave effective capacity for one in ten passengers on many parts of the UK network.
At the moment, Thameslink is operating on a Sunday timetable. From Monday 18 May, this will increase to a Saturday timetable with added early and late trains to assist key workers.
No East Midlands Rail Services will stop at Bedford. I’m told this is because they expect the carriages to be at capacity under social distancing measures before reaching Bedford.
Thameslink say they can carry a maximum of 15 passengers per carriage safely under social distancing guidance to try to keep 2 metres apart.
The timetable will be under weekly review to monitor service demand and safety.
It is important to emphasise that the times of most trains will change, and customers are being asked to plan before travelling.
The timetable is available in journey planners such as www.nationalrail.co.uk
The long suffering users of the Marston Vale Line will be disappointed to hear the service won’t resume yet. A replacement bus service will continue. This is clearly not good enough and I will be pushing the rail minister to reinstate this service as soon as possible.
For those travelling, the safety guidance from the Government can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/…/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guid…