Staff shortages lead to cut in train services

By Daniel Gee   |   Head of Content   |
Wednesday 12th January 2022 1:20 pm
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Waterloo station
Waterloo station (Roman Fox via Unsplash )

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THE WATERLOO to Alton rail line will reduce to an hourly service from Monday (January 17) because of staff shortages at South Western Railway (SWR).

SWR says the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 has necessitated the need for a new temporary timetable. These temporary timetable changes will remain “under review”, says the rail operator.

It adds the changes will “ensure reliability for customers and cater to key workers, school pupils and those who cannot work from home”.

Staff shortages across SWR have led to unavoidable short-notice cancellations in recent weeks.

But with current guidance to work from home, SWR states the temporary timetable “will sufficiently meet current demand”.

Core timetables are available through the SWR website, with journey planners set to be updated on a week-by-week basis. Updates will take place towards the end of each week, so customers are advised to check before they travel via

SWR managing director Claire Mann said: “The spread of the Omicron variant has had a significant impact on our railway, with fewer people using the train and staff shortages impacting on our ability to consistently deliver the current timetable.

“Having assessed demand and spoken to our industry colleagues, we believe this new timetable is the most effective means of ensuring our customers receive a reliable service, with short-notice cancellations minimised.

“Journey planners will be updated on a week-by-week basis, with updates taking place towards the end of each week. Customers should check their journey as close to their time of travel as possible.”

’Key timetable changes’ identified by SWR include:

  • Waterloo to Exeter services will split at Salisbury
  • Waterloo to Weymouth services will split at Bournemouth
  • The Shepperton branch will reduce to hourly
  • Waterloo to Alton will reduce to hourly
  • Waterloo to Basingstoke will reduce to hourly

The last train of each day will be earlier than at present.

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