Coronavirus: South's train timetables to be cut from Monday

The Government has confirmed train timetables will be reduced from Monday as the number of people using services drops because of the Coronavirus.

All of the region's rail companies will gradually be cutting the number of trains they run with amended timetables being brought in.

  • All operators affected

Southern, Thameslink and the Gatwick Express, along with South Western Railway have already had to cancel some trains at short notice because they haven't got enough staff to run a full service.

South Eastern says it will keep all of its stations opens but that there would be fewer trains.

Gatwick Express services will be reduced by half, to two services every hour off-peak and at weekends.

South Western Railway and Great Western Railway are yet to announce the exact changes being made to its services come Monday.

Meanwhile, Eurostar is running just 10 trains today, compared with its usual schedule of 56.

No services will operate between London and Amsterdam, Disneyland Paris or the French Alps.

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps Credit: PA

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps, said:

"We are taking decisive action to protect the public which means reducing travel for the time being, whilst still ensuring key worker heroes can get to their jobs to keep this nation running.

"For passengers in crucial roles, including essential workers in our emergency services and NHS, alongside people who need to attend medical appointments or care for loved ones, these changes protect the services they rely on."

  • Social distancing isn't a problem on trains right now:

With the country being told to work from home unless absolutely necessary the number of people using trains has already nose-dived.

People have been posting pictures of their empty carriages, where social distancing really isn't a problem.

Empty seats on this train at Gillingham in Kent Credit: @Marcuschrys
This South Western Railway train was deserted Credit: Stephanie Brogan
  • Coronavirus timetable changes: A decision not 'taken lightly'

The Government says the timetable changes being introduced will ensure that key routes are protected for people who need to use a train but that it's necessary as it tries to control the spread of the Coronavirus.

Robert Nisbet, Director of Nations and Regions at the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said:

"At a time of extraordinary national challenge, the measures rail companies are putting in place with government will preserve services so that we can continue to get key workers to where they need to be, deliver food to supermarkets and get fuel to power stations.

"This is not a decision we take lightly. However, implementing these measures now will mean that we can continue to operate trains over a prolonged period with fewer railway workers, who like so many others are to be commended for putting the needs of the country first, and whose safety remains front of mind."