Rail firms issue travel warnings due to pandemic-related issues

Published on: Tuesday, 21st December 2021
Northern Rail Train

Rail firms serving both the borough and beyond have issued warnings to those planning to use the rail network over the festive season.

The impact of the pandemic, particularly the arrival of the Omicron variant, is already having an effect with a number of service providers having had to cancel services or offer reduced and amended timetables, due to staff shortages, employees falling sick or being forced into isolation.

According to figures from the Department for Transport, the impact of the request for more people to work at home where possible has led to a decrease in passengers numbers but as the Christmas break gets fully underway, more are expected to return to the railways as part of plans to visit friends, relatives and family, however, a spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group has said the aim was to ensure that key workers can get where they need to be, albeit with the possibility that not every service will be running.  Efforts are underway to ensure clear and accurate information is provided as the days pass.

For services in the Erewash Borough, Cross Country which runs services through Long Eaton Railway Station has said that it expects widespread disruption to its services and urged rail users to pull their journeys forward rather than later to ensure that they can complete their journeys as early as possible.

The company is already cancelling dozens of its services each day, with some trains running with fewer carriages where they do run.

Northern Rail runs services through Ilkeston Railway Station.  The company is also advising the same to its customers, to check before travelling, particularly for those venturing towards Yorkshire and the North West.  The company has reported running amended timetables due to the effects of COVID-19 on crew availability, but also impacts of necessary engineering work.  It expects disruption to its services until January 3rd at the earliest and possibly later.

The company is updating its journey planners on-line as soon as possible but has said that some short-notice in-day cancellations are possible.  It has assured passengers that if a service is cancelled, they can travel on earlier or later services but offered a reminder that the impact of this could be that its trains could be more crowded.  Northern will also be deploying replacement bus services where necessary.

Meanwhile, East Midlands Railway which operates through both Ilkeston and Long Eaton, has lifted a number of restrictions but is also making amendments to its services in the region.  The company has also said that it will close its services early on Christmas Eve, with amended restrictions and lifts continuing until and including 3rd January.  The company also advises passengers to check before travelling, particularly due to early morning and late night service amendments and the impact of engineering works.

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