Rail services could be terminated as a result of coronavirus

20th Mar 2020

Some of the UK’s rail services could be terminated following a fall in the number of train passengers as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The number of train passengers fell by around a fifth last week, according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Shapps held a meeting with rail companies this week to discuss how to manage what he called the “big drop off”.

“We’re working with them all to see what it is we need to sustain them,” said Shapps.

He added: “There’s no more point in running ghost trains any more than there is running ghost planes,” referencing the airline industry, which has recently seen more flights being cancelled and staff being laid off.

IAG, the parent company of British Airways, has revealed its capacity for April and May would be cut by “at least 75%”, and British Airways has already told staff that jobs will go.

Shapps also held a crisis meeting with airlines this week, and said options to support the aviation industry included the HMRC offer of a ‘time to pay’.

Shapps asserted the importance of making sure that successful companies would get the support they need: “We want to make sure that companies and individuals and organisations who are in a good state – not those that are going to fail anyway – are able to continue”.

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