THE spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 has forced South Western Railway (SWR) to introduce a new temporary timetable from next week.

Starting on Monday, the new timetable is designed to ensure reliability for customers and cater to key workers, school pupils and those who cannot work from home.

SWR said that the spread of Omicron has resulted in staff shortages across the company, leading to unavoidable short-notice cancellations.

It said “rigorous planning” had gone into developing the timetable but it will continue to monitor its service and said the changes will remain under review.

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Core timetables are available on SWR website, with journey planners set to be updated each week.

SWR managing director Claire Mann said: “The spread of the Omicron variant has had a significant impact on our railway, with fewer people using the train and staff shortages impacting our ability to consistently deliver the current timetable.

“Having assessed demand and spoken to our industry colleagues, we believe this new timetable is the most effective means of ensuring our customers receive a reliable service, with short-notice cancellations minimised.

“Journey planners will be updated on a week-by-week basis, with updates taking place towards the end of each week. Customers should check their journey as close to their time of travel as possible.”


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