Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Network Rail chairman predicts 10% reduction in train need post pandemic

SWR Trains

Around 10% fewer train services should run once the country opens up again, compared to the pre-pandemic timetable, the chairman of Network Rail has said.

The old pattern of five days of peak commuter travel may not return, Sir Peter Hendy warned the National Rail Recovery conference.

Instead, leisure travel might boost weekend traffic, especially if limits on international travel continue.

Commuter traffic could return to 80% of pre-pandemic levels, he suggested.

“The service doesn’t run better if you put too many trains on the track. We’ve proved that,” said Sir Peter.

“You shouldn’t try to get more out of the infrastructure than it can give you. All of my experience is that people prefer reliability to journey time.”

Passenger numbers fell precipitously in March when the pandemic struck and have only partially recovered since. Many commuters are working from home and some businesses remain closed.

The government’s timetable foresees a gradual opening up of the economy over the coming months. However, some firms have already signalled some workers may continue to work from home for some of their working week.

Sir Peter said commuter traffic on the railways could remain at around 80% for the next one to three years, although he said that Network Rail, which manages the UK’s rail infrastructure, were also looking at a range of possibilities between 60% and 100%.

He warned that the working week could change so dramatically that commuter routes may only see one peak day a week and that ticketing options should be looked at to even out the service.

Leisure visits to family or for recreation could boost passenger numbers on summer weekends, he suggested.

“I used to watch the trains to the Cornish Riviera from Paddington and it was packed and we might need to get used to that again,’ he told the conference.

“If Saturday and Sunday get busy in the summer we need to do engineering work at other times.”

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris also acknowledged that commuting was not going to return to previous levels quickly.

“We are not going back to before – this is the new normal. We now need to fundamentally change,” he said. Without a concerted cross-industry effort passengers might not return, he added.

In December, the government said it was “committed to providing a more flexible, modern ticketing system for passengers” and asked rail operators to develop flexible season tickets.

When many commuters travelled to work four or five days a week, a season ticket provided value for money. Part-time commuters currently face a much higher price per journey.

The Department for Transport expects flexible season tickets to be introduced across England later this year, which could save commuters “hundreds of pounds”.

Mr Heaton-Harris said during the pandemic passenger numbers fell to levels “not seen since the 19th Century” but everyone would work hard to restore business, and ensure a safe and clean network. He said this would require a “coherent approach, [where] innovation is needed more than ever”.

Keith Williams, whose much anticipated rail review is expected to be published soon, described the pandemic as a “Black Swan” event for the rail industry. The review had been due for release shortly before the pandemic began and has now been updated.

Read more:
Network Rail chairman predicts 10% reduction in train need post pandemic

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed and entertained, for free.
Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!



Lowering VAT charges on fuel may be politically attractive but is not good news for those who will struggle the most, say leading tax...


An estimated 3 per cent of the workforce was signed off in late December and a fifth of businesses reported increased cancellations amid the...


Mark Zuckerberg could be forced to pay most British Facebook users about £50 each if a landmark legal action alleging that the site abused...


France has reopened its borders to British tourists after ministers in Paris eased restrictions on non-essential travel. From this morning, Britons travelling to the...


People struck down with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus are buying so much paracetamol that supplies are running low in many shops. Official...


Covid Passports are to be abandoned within days after Sajid Javid effectively killed off the policy. The health secretary has concluded that Covid-19 certification...

You May Also Like


Having a good Instagram marketing agency to back up your Instagram account is an absolute must going into the new year. With competition stronger...


Ivermectin, an existing drug against parasites including head lice, has had a checkered history when it comes to treating COVID-19. The bulk of studies...


Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder in the global population. Therefore, it is a problem that many people suffer or have suffered throughout...


As a traditionally rigid insurance industry becomes bogged down by antiquated processes and operations, a handful of industry leaders are seeking to shake things...

Disclaimer:, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively "The Company") do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Copyright © 2021 SmartRetirementReport. All Rights Reserved.