The rail industry can ill-afford a spiral of decline thanks to Covid

The truth is that passengers need to return – before the Treasury tires of pumping in £1m per hour to keep trains on track, writes Simon Calder

Monday 10 January 2022 19:11 GMT
<p>Disruption to rail services is worsening due to pandemic-related staff shortages</p>

Disruption to rail services is worsening due to pandemic-related staff shortages

One million pounds per hour: during the Covid-19 pandemic, that is the average level of subsidy from taxpayers to train companies.

“The government has supported the railway with over £15bn since the start of the pandemic,” says Susie Homan of the Rail Delivery Group. The body representing train operators and Network Rail has endorsed the “temporary timetables” introduced by many rail firms – cutting between 7 and 15 per cent of planned trains.

At London Victoria, one of the UK’s busiest stations, no trains are running this week on the main line to Gatwick, Brighton and the south coast, with reduced services switched to London Bridge.

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