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GWR cuts schedule amid omicron cases

Great Western Railway is introducing a temporary reduced schedule in response to higher than usual levels of staff being absent or self-isolating due to Covid.

The temporary reduction in schedules goes into effect on Saturday, January 8, ensuring that the rail company will be able to deliver the majority of its regular and scheduled trains. This will give customers confidence in the services so that they can plan ahead.

The reduced schedule will be updated on a weekly basis and should only be operational for a short time – until the impact of the Omicron variant has subsided.

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said, “We are taking sensible action using the experience, knowledge and the right processes that we have developed over the past 20 months to give clients confidence in our schedule.

“Over the past few weeks, we have already taken steps to maintain service levels across the network, including canceling all non-safety critical staff training.

“Like many other businesses, we expect extended periods of staff absence due to Covid to continue in the coming weeks and the goal of this temporary schedule is to provide service you can depend on. , reducing the potential for one-off short-term cancellations. .

“This means reducing our schedule a bit to strengthen the large number of services that we continue to operate. We have prioritized schools, colleges and other known key services with high usage and very much hope that the changes will only be necessary for a short time.

“We will review the need for temporary changes weekly and update trip planners and our gwr.com website with details of the changes needed for the coming week.

As always, our advice for guests is to verify your trip before leaving home at Journeycheck.com/greatwesternrailway.

Services between London Paddington, Bristol Temple Meads and South Wales will operate hourly on weekends due to pre-planned engineering work. A slightly reduced service will operate Monday through Friday.

There are also discounts on long distance services on other routes in the network.

Other routes affected include some of the Devon and Cornwall branch lines. The St Ives branch will revert to hourly weekday services and some other services in the west will also be affected. Planned upgrade work between Newton Abbot and Paignton means no trains will run for the next two weekends – and a replacement bus service will be in operation.

The industry’s Book with Confidence program has been extended until the end of March so that passengers can change their travel plans up to the day before departure at no cost, or if they choose not to travel, they can receive a refund on their unused ticket.

Those taking the train are advised to check their trip before leaving their home at Journeycheck.com/greatwesternrailway. If a train is canceled, customers will be able to travel on a service immediately before or after the booked train.

In accordance with the latest government advice, GWR encourages its customers to travel safely.

People are reminded:

  • Wash your hands more regularly
  • Buy tickets online, on a smart card or using the GWR app