Great Western Railway has increased the number of trains it runs as schools and colleges across its network prepare to return to the classroom.
Rail services were reduced when a nationwide lockdown was introduced in March, and the rail operator has been implementing a phased return to its previous, full timetable. Train services were last ramped up in July as national travel restrictions eased.
The train operator has been in contact with schools, colleges, and local education authorities to help understand their plans, and make sure key services were reinstated for 31 August before the start of the school term. Extra staff will also be on hand at key stations to help provide advice and guidance to returning students.
This is ahead of a more general timetable uplift planned for Monday 14 September, which will restore GWR weekday services to around 94% of its December 19 timetable.
GWR Interim Managing Director Matthew Golton said:
“Staff across GWR have been working hard and we continue to take sensible steps to look after ourselves and each other, as we welcome people back to the railway.
“A lot of hard work has been done to make sure people can be confident to travel safely, and that includes running more trains and carriages to make extra room, as well as the enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures.
“Over the past weeks and months we have been talking to local schools, colleges, and universities to make sure we’re focusing services in the right place as much as possible to help those returning to education to be able to do so and travel safely.”
With more people starting to use trains again operators are reminding passengers to:
plan ahead – travel at quieter times where they can, buy a ticket online and in advance, and book ahead if you need travel assistance
consider others – wear a face covering unless you’re exempt, not travelling if you have Covid symptoms and consider others, not all disabilities can be seen
stay safe – maintaining your distance wherever possible; wash your hands and carry hand sanitiser, paying contactless where you can
GWR has been providing rail services throughout the pandemic and has worked to ensure that these are as safe as possible. This includes increased cleaning regimes and the use of a virucidal spray; extra staff at key stations to offer help and guidance; and processes in place to help customers maintain a safe distance where possible such as restricting the number of reservations available.
Notes to editors
Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England.
We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR.com. GWR is a FirstGroup company.