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Increase in rail services from today


By David G Scott

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CUSTOMERS are reminded that the number of services operating across Scotland’s railway system will increase from today including four services on the far north line.

Last week, ScotRail announced that more than 90 per cent of normal services will operate from today.

All routes now have normal early morning, late night, and peak services.

ScotRail stressed that the “five rules for safer travel” remain in force, including the wearing of face coverings at stations and on trains.

ScotRail has introduced a new timetable this week. Picture: DGS
ScotRail has introduced a new timetable this week. Picture: DGS

Customers are still urged to consider alternative travel options where possible, as physical distancing can’t be guaranteed.

The 8.02am and 4pm trains from Wick to Inverness are now reinstated, as is the 7am and 6.33pm services running to Wick from Inverness.

A reduced service had been in operation since March 23 due to the “unprecedented challenge” of Covid-19.

The company said that more than 90 per cent of normal services will operate from next week.

A number of measures have been introduced in recent weeks to keep staff and passengers safe.

One hundred per cent of normal capacity will be provided during peak travel hours, although many seats will need to remain empty to maintain physical distancing.

The increase in services comes ahead of the expected reopening of schools on August 11, which could result in an increase in the number of people travelling on ScotRail services.

The suspension of driver training during lockdown, due to physical distancing rules making it impossible for two people to sit in the driver’s cab at the same time, means it’s not yet possible for a full service to operate.

Where ScotRail must operate a reduced service, it will be at the times of the day when fewest people travel. A video setting out the challenges faced by ScotRail can be viewed on ScotRail's YouTube channel.

People are urged to consider alternative travel options where possible, including walking and cycling, to free up space for those who have no choice but to travel by train.

For those who do travel on ScotRail services, the operator is asking customers to continue to follow its five rules for safer travel and take personal responsibility:

  1. Do not travel if you feel unwell or have a temperature.
  2. Travel away from the main commuting times (7am – 9am and 4pm – 6.30pm) wherever possible, as trains will be busiest around then. The earliest and latest trains serve key workers, like NHS and care home staff.
  3. If you think it’s not safe to board a train, don’t do it and wait for another service.
  4. Wear a face mask or covering and, where possible, maintain physical distancing.
  5. Be patient. You might not be able to board your first choice of train, as physical distancing means most seats need to be left empty.

A number of measures have been introduced in recent weeks to keep staff and passengers safe, including the provision of hand sanitiser and face masks at the busiest stations in the country. Face coverings are mandatory at stations and on trains.

Platform markings and guidance at ticket vending machines are supporting station announcements and messages on customer information screens, to help customers during their journey.

Customers are reminded to buy in advance of travel via the ScotRail app, website, or station facilities to ensure waiting times are reduced and physical distancing supported. All customers must hold a valid ticket before boarding a train.

Scotland’s Railway moved to a minimum of one-metre physical distancing on trains and at stations on Monday, July 27.

David Simpson, ScotRail operations director, said: “Thanks to the hard work of staff across Scotland’s railway, we’ll operate as close to a normal timetable as possible from Monday, August 3. Like businesses across the world, we continue to face challenges caused by coronavirus, but we will have every available train in service from August 3.

“We do need everybody to continue taking personal responsibility for their travel choices, because physical distancing can’t be guaranteed. Customers who do travel with ScotRail should follow our five rules for safer travel, including the wearing of a face covering on trains and at stations.”

Suspended far north rail services to be reinstated



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