'Do not travel' advice issued for Cumbrian railway due to rise in Covid-19 cases

Northern services have been affected by a Covid outbreak among staff. Credit: Northern

Rail operator Northern has asked people not to try and travel on the Cumbrian coast line today because of an outbreak of Covid-19 among its staff.

Earlier the company warned that there would be disruption to its services because of the effect the virus is having - many of its conductors and drivers have been either diagnosed with Covid-19 or asked to self-isolate following Track and Trace notifications.

This warning has now been upgraded because of a worsening situation.

Many of the affected staff are based in Barrow and Workington, which has led Northern to suspend all Saturday services.

Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern, said: “We were already expecting this weekend to be difficult because of the impact of coronavirus, but the number of staff affected in Cumbria has risen significantly and we’ve had to take the difficult decision to cancel all services on the Cumbrian Coast line on Saturday.

“At the moment we expect services to return on Sunday, albeit with a risk of short notice cancellations, but our message for Saturday is ‘do not travel’.”

There will also be planned cancellations on services between Barrow and Manchester Airport today, while many Lancaster – Morecambe services will be removed. On Sunday, all Dalesrail services will also be cancelled.

Northern has also advised its customers to expect busier services tonight, particularly in larger towns and cities, following the Euro 2020 quarter final between England and Ukraine.

The rail operator has asked those planning to travel on Saturday night to think carefully about their journeys and not to wait until the last train home.

Mr Jackson 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, 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. 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.”

Up-to-the-minute details of Northern’s services can be found via the rail operator's website or at National Rail Enquires.