Coronavirus has had a devastating effect on life worldwide, and the rail companies of the UK are no different. Greater Anglia, for example, have announced plans on how they will try to adapt
and survive the pandemic.
The Plans in Full
They were in the middle of an ambitious £60 million plan to replace every old train with 111
Bombardier trains to serve the routes between Liverpool St and Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Ipswich. Also, Swiss built Stadler electric trains were beginning to be introduced on the busy Norwich – London route. These offer between 23 and 41 per cent more seats, free WiFi and improved passenger information screens.
Passenger numbers fell away dramatically at height of lockdown, and although customers are slowly returning, numbers are still down on pre-Covid levels. It has been reported that public funding would be cut drastically, in the event of another lockdown or people remained reluctant to return to trains.
The local routes suspected to be most at risk are the Bittern Line (Norwich to the North Norfolk
coast) and the Wherry Line (Norwich – Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft) . A spokesman for the East Norfolk Transport Users Association admitted that the idea of the services being cut was perfectly feasible as the government simply cannot afford to continue operating nearly empty trains, adding that it would be a tremendous loss to the area, should it happen. A non-car user based on the Norfolk coast would find it virtually impossible to travel anywhere not served by a bus, thereby limiting their possibilities.
Since June, people have required face coverings to travel by train and as people begin to return to as normal a life as possible, the hope is that by people commuting and using trains for leisure,
trains remain a vital part of the local economy.
It is expected that rail companies in autumn, will promote trains as a safe way to travel and a survey has revealed someone travelling by train has a one in 11,000 of contracting the virus.
Greater Anglia has not yet responded to these reports , but has said previously that by emphasising safety measures and the ease and comfort of rail travel, it expects travellers to return.
So what are your thoughts of getting back out onto the rails? Let us know in the comments below!