Cllr Paul Wray
Network Rail Coronavirus Update - 14 May
I've received the following communication from Network Rail about how they plan to manage increasing passenger numbers.
I wanted to update you on how we are continuing to play our part in supporting the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Keeping frontline staff, passengers and the public safe is our first priority. We have been working closely with Government, public health authorities, rail industry partners, and the trade unions since the beginning of the outbreak in order to do this. It will continue to be at the centre of our plans as we look to increase the level of train services across the North of England from Monday 18 May.
Protecting Our Passengers
The industry has been planning for an increase in passenger numbers in recent weeks, including how best to manage the need to continue to maintain social distancing on trains when demand increases. This plan is now being implemented following the publication of Government guidance for transport operators and passengers on Tuesday. The first stage of this will see a new rail timetable introduced from Monday.
This timetable will increase services from 50% of the normal weekday service which is running today, up to around 70% of a normal weekday service. It is important to note though that with social distancing in place this will only increase actual capacity by between 3% and 4%. There will only be space for as little as a tenth of the normal number of passengers.
In line with these constraints, we are advising the public to only use public transport if there is no other way for them to complete their journey. We will be urging the public to follow the Government’s advice for people to walk, cycle or use their cars where possible in all of our communications to passengers. This will be key to allow us to keep the railway free for those who need it most, and to get people safely to where they need to go.
I wanted to update you on some specific steps we will be taking in support of this;
A national marketing campaign will be launched shortly by the Rail Delivery Group to remind the public that they should only travel if there is no other way to complete their journey. If passengers do need to travel by rail we are advising them to avoid peak travel times, wear a face covering, wash their hands before and after their journey, and carry hand sanitiser with them. Attached is some guidance on this which will be displayed at our managed stations.
At Leeds Station – the busiest station in the North of England – we will have made a series of changes by Monday. These include enhanced wayfinding, new social distancing markings, restrictions at entries and exits and the gate line, and more frequent station announcements.
Leeds Station will also continue to have extra staff on hand to assist passengers and an increased cleaning regime in place.
As the layout at Leeds often involves large movements of people in close proximity to each other as they try to reach the platforms we will need the continued buy-in from passengers for this to work. The public have made an enormous effort in recent weeks - with passenger flows down at Leeds by up to 94% on usual numbers – and we will continue to do everything we can to support these behavioural changes in order to promote the safety of everybody using the station.
Protecting Our People
In support of this work the Coronavirus Industry Forum (RICF), which brings together all train operators, Network Rail and trade unions, has agreed a series of principles that should be followed by all organisations by the rail industry. These will help us manage risk for both passengers and employees as both the level of services and usage increase.
The over-arching principles from this work are to;
Maintain social distancing where possible. Where work requires staff to be within two metres of others we have built up robust stocks of PPE while taking care to ensure that we are not diverting supplies of PPE from frontline NHS workers.
Evaluate risk, especially where social distancing cannot be maintained.
Combat risks at source, including through more cleaning, improved facilities, reviewing staffing and working arrangements and providing appropriate equipment.
Consider what physical arrangements can be put in place to achieve separation. Including screens, barriers, floor markings, signage and announcements.
We will keep these principles at the centre of everything we do as we reintroduce train services in the coming days.
Improving Our Railway
We also continue to work hard to improve the reliability of the railway. Nationally we spent around £400m on capital investment during April. Taken together over the Easter and May Bank Holidays around £250m will be spent on 1,400 projects across the network, in addition to maintenance activities we are delivering.
We are working with industry partners to identify opportunities to accelerate work to provide earlier benefits for passengers and rail users. While there are some constraints on accelerating work, including the availability of the railway, workforce and resources, and the continued impact of social distancing measures, we will do work where we are able while the network is less busy.
I hope this provides a helpful update on the industry’s plan ahead of the increase in services from Monday. Please do let me know if it would be helpful to arrange a call to discuss this in more detail.
Leave a Reply.
Leeds City Council Coronavirus
The Labour Party
Leeds City Council
Declaration of Interest
Labour Group Office, Leeds Civic Hall, Calverley St, Leeds, LS1 1UR
Promoted by Hunslet and Riverside Labour Party, on behalf of Paul Wray, all at 124 West Point, Wellington Street, Leeds, LS1 4JL
Hosted by Weebly.