What you need to know about train travel as services increased ahead of lockdown easing

Rail services are being ramped up ahead of the further easing of lockdown restrictions (Photo: Shutterstock)

Rail services are being ramped up ahead of the further easing of lockdown restrictions.

More than 1,000 daily weekday services have been added to timetables since mid-February, industry body the Rail Delivery Group said.

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The increase means that nearly 18,000 services will run from Monday - when non-essential shops, pub beer gardens and outdoor visitor attractions are allowed to reopen in England.

A further uplift in services is planned for May.

‘Rail companies are increasing space on trains’

Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions at the RDG, said: "In addition to enhanced cleaning and providing better information to help people avoid busier times, rail companies are increasing space on trains across the country by adding services as we take steps out of lockdown.

"We are closely monitoring passenger numbers as restrictions ease to carefully balance service levels with demand, and the need to run the railway efficiently for taxpayers."

Travel at quieter times where possible

Rail companies are urging passengers to travel at quieter times where possible.

The RDG said an additional 1,500 people have been employed to clean trains and stations during the pandemic, representing an increase of 25%.

It calculated that 13,250 litres of cleaning agent is used every month to sanitise surfaces on the rail network.

How rail companies will keep trains cleaned and sanitised

Christine Smith, who manages the cleaning of Govia Thameslink Railway trains, said: "We've pulled out all the stops to make sure stations and trains are thoroughly cleaned and sanitised many times every day, with extra attention paid to high-contact touchpoints like handrails and buttons.

"If you touch it, we've cleaned it."

The RDG cited research by watchdog Transport Focus indicating that about 90% of rail passengers making recent journeys felt safe doing so.