Railway bosses plan to lay on 1,000 extra trains EVERY DAY from next week to help cope with predicted ‘staycation’ boom
- Demand for domestic getaways soared ahead of easing of lockdown restrictions
- Rail bosses are expecting a passenger surge fuelled by reopening of hospitality
- Services will hit almost 18,000 a day from Monday, up from 16,900 in February
Rail chiefs will lay on over 1,000 more trains a day from Monday to cope with a staycation boom.
Demand for domestic getaways has soared ahead of Monday, when self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets can reopen.
Rail bosses are expecting a passenger surge, fuelled also by outdoor hospitality restarting.
Services will hit almost 18,000 a day from Monday, up from 16,900 in mid-February. With travel abroad still uncertain, Holiday home firm Cottages.com has said two-thirds of its properties on the coast or with hot tubs have been booked.
Mark Gordon, of camping firm Feather Down, also reported a bookings surge.
Trains have been at around 72 per cent of pre-Covid levels in recent months.
Rail chiefs will lay on over 1,000 more trains a day from Monday to cope with a staycation boom. Pictured: Stock image
Some trains will be made longer to create more space to prevent over-crowding. Deep cleaning of carriages has also been ramped up to ensure people feel safe returning to trains.
Another increase of services is planned for the next lockdown easing milestone on May 17.
Around 1,500 more people have been employed to clean the railways during the pandemic, an increase of almost 25 per cent since March last year. More than 13,250 litres of cleaning agent is used every month to sanitise surfaces across the network.
Robert Nisbet, of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents rail operators, said: ‘In addition to enhanced cleaning and providing better information to help people avoid busier times, rail companies are increasing space on trains across the country by adding services as we take steps out of lockdown.
‘We are closely monitoring passenger numbers as restrictions ease to carefully balance service levels with demand, and the need to run the railway efficiently for taxpayers.’
Rail bosses are expecting a passenger surge, fuelled also by outdoor hospitality restarting
Passenger numbers have plummeted to as low as 10 per cent of pre-pandemic levels on some parts of the network since last March.
Services have been running at about 72 per cent of pre-Covid levels in recent months to ensure key workers and students can still use them safely.
Ministers stepped in to bail out rail firms by giving them a guaranteed income for continuing to run services. The bill is thought to be approaching about £9billion.
Mark Phillips, CEO of the Rail Safety and Standards Board, said: ‘As restrictions ease, it is extremely reassuring that rail companies are taking the necessary steps to ensure people can travel with confidence.’
Source: Read Full Article