Readers will not be surprised by today’s announcement from industry body Rail Delivery Group.
The train operators are reducing schedules to 72 per cent of normal levels. Previously service frequency was 87 per cent of normal schedules in pre-Covid times.
Some operators have already reduced schedules while others will follow in the near future.
The reductions vary across the networks. Open access firms Grand Central and Hull Trains have already suspended services altogether.
What it means therefore is that readers who have to travel must check timetables in advance.
The government is currently subsidising the train operators (but not the open access firms) to the tune of several billions of pounds. The last figure provided (some months ago) was £3.5 billion.
The scale of the subsidy can be gleaned by a report in the Yorkshire Post which revealed that two local operators would be receiving a subsidy of no less than £1 billion.
Northern and TransPennine set to get £1bn in subsidy since start of pandemic to keep rail services going https://t.co/jMMaxJu45k
— Chris Ogilvie (@Ogilvie_CJ) January 12, 2021
Nobody knows for how long the current lockdown will last. If it continues until the end of March or longer I would not be surprised to see further schedule cuts.
Why? Because during the first lockdown services were cut to around 50 per cent of normal levels.