REVISED rail timetables have been rolled out today (Monday) following a dip in demand brought on by the coronavirus outbreak.

Rail operators announced last week that they would be reducing the number of services it operates after the government urged people to avoid all but essential travel in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus.

The government’s measures have affected routes across the entire country, with the Department for Transport reporting a 69 per cent dip in demand on some services.

The revised timetables came into force this morning.

One train will run every hour in each direction on the Basingstoke to London Waterloo stopping service run by South Western Railway (SWR). Additional peak services will run and the last train service from London Waterloo is at 11.12pm.

An hourly service will also run on the Reading-Basingstoke line run by Great Western Railway. The last train from Basingstoke will run at five minutes past midnight and the last from Reading at

Planned engineering works also mean that between Monday and Wednesday this week, the 10.35pm London Waterloo to Bournemouth SWR service will end its journey at Basingstoke.

Rail replacement transport has been arranged from Basingstoke to Bournemouth.

SWR said the spread of the COVID-19 means that like at most other organisations, more of their staff are having to follow advice to stay at home unwell and self-isolate for up to 14 days.

By reducing the number of trains running, the company said it can focus on ensuring a reliable timetable for passengers who still have to travel, especially healthcare professionals, police and fire service workers.

Mark Hopwood, SWR's Managing Director, said: "We’ve decided to operate a revised timetable from Monday 23 March onwards.

"With the Government advising people only to travel if it’s essential, and with some of our team needing to follow advice and self-isolate, running fewer trains means we can offer a more reliable timetable that still gets key workers, such as doctors and nurses, to and from work.

"The outbreak has put the country in a unique place, but it’s vital our industry helps its day-to-day running. Our colleagues are working hard to ensure services are running so passengers who can’t stay at home get where they need to be when they need to be there.

"The safety of our customers and colleagues is our top priority, and like the rest of the country, we’re doing our bit to reduce the spread of coronavirus and continue to follow the latest Government advice."

John Halsall, Network Rail southern region managing director, said: "It’s so important for this country that key workers are able to get to work and vital freight supplies can continue to be delivered, and we’re proud to be playing our part.

"I’m so impressed by their dedication and of our railway colleagues too. Network Rail are working closely with our train operators on new timetables and we're continuing to maintain and renew the railway, so that we can keep trains running and people moving, despite the difficult circumstances."