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Spread of Covid-19 Omicron variant forces South Western Railway to temporarily change timetables

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STAFF shortages caused by the spread of Covid-19’s Omicron variant has prompted South Western Railway to make temporary changes to its timetable.

Commuters are urged to check the new times – coming into force from Monday 17th January – before they travel.

SWR said the revised version has been designed to cater to key workers, school pupils and those who cannot work from home.

South Western Railway is making timetable changes due to the spread of Covid-19's Omicron variant
South Western Railway is making timetable changes due to the spread of Covid-19's Omicron variant

Since the emergence of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, a growing number of staff shortages has led to short-notice train cancellations that the firm called “unavoidable”.

It maintained the timetable changes, which will remain under review, had been rigorously planned to deliver the right level of service under the current government guidance that people work from home.

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.”

Core timetables can be viewed online at www.southwesternrailway.com and journey planners are set to be updated towards the end of each week.

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