Azuma bi-mode train in Highlands

Commuters and travellers in UK brace for cancellations

LNER Azuma bi-mode train in Highlands, source: LNER

Several rail operators in the United Kingdom this week announced cancellations and issued warnings for disruptions through Christmas, as renewed COVID concerns begin to bite.

Operators increasingly face an absence of drivers and train managers, creating staffing issues, several British media reported this week. London North Eastern Railway will enter 16 trains per day less until December 24. The company has not ruled out additional cancellations.

Avanti West Coast cautioned travellers that there is risk of “short-notice cancellations and alterations”. Northern, Southern and TransPennine Express put out similar warnings. Crosscountry said its trains could have fewer carriages, while Greater Anglia and ScotRail had to scrap services due to a lack of demand.

“It’s better for some services to be temporarily withdrawn on a planned basis than to have chaotic last-minute cancellations”, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus Anthony Smith told the Guardian.

Cancellations and disruptions are also affecting delivery firms such as Royal Mail and Rail Delivery Group. A spokespersons said that while it can’t run as trains as it would like, it will be sure to inform customers in an “accurate and timely” manner. Royal Mail said it might not be able to deliver the mail on some days.

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Author: Nick Augusteijn

Chief Editor,

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