Rail passengers are being asked to check before they travel as Transport for Wales updates its emergency rail timetable from Monday 3 January.
TfW and Network Rail have continued to see a significant increase in staff absences as a result of the latest wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and this has impacted rail services in recent weeks.
As a result, TfW introduced an emergency rail timetable from 22 December, which equated to a reduction of between 10-15% of the standard timetable introduced on 12 December. However, with staff absences continuing to increase, the decision has been taken to further reduce services to ensure the company can provide a reliable service throughout this latest stage of the pandemic.
The new timetable equates to a further reduction of 10-15% of the timetable introduced on 22 December, with a focus on parts of the rail network suffering from particularly high staff absence. This move is in line with service reductions being introduced by other operators across the whole of the British rail network.
The new timetable will remain in place over the coming weeks and will be reviewed regularly as the rail industry in Wales monitors the impact of the new Omicron variant on staff levels.
All customers are urged to check www.tfw.wales before travelling and follow the up-to-date guidance from the Welsh Government.
Jan Chaudhry-Van de Velde, Managing Director of TfW Rail, said:
“We are very much dealing with the Omicron wave of Covid infections and, like many public service organisations, have seen a major rise in colleague absences over the last few weeks.
“It’s fundamental we continue to run as reliable a service as possible for our customers and therefore we are introducing a revised timetable from 3 January, reducing the risk of late notice cancellations.
“Wherever we can, we’ll use additional carriages made available due to the reduced timetable to run longer trains, which will help with social distancing. We’ll also provide supplementary road transport, where possible.
“We appreciate this will be frustrating for some customers, and we have not taken this decision lightly. We ask that all customers check online before they travel and follow current government advice. Our aim is to restore the timetable as soon as absence rates caused by this wave of the pandemic allow.”
Customers who have already purchased tickets for services affected by this change will be able to use their tickets on alternative TfW rail services. Alternatively, they will be able to request a refund.