You may be aware that we have been operating a reduced timetable on our Devon and Cornwall services this week.  This is because of several positive COVID-19 cases, and around 50 other members of staff having to self-isolate under Track and Trace requirements. 

This has impacted driver availability and we will be operating a reduced timetable on our West of England services through to Devon and Cornwall until at least Sunday 27 December. Details of the long-distance service changes through to the 24 December are on our website https://www.gwr.com/travel-updates/live-network-updates.

We are working with Network Rail to remove these trains from journey planners as quickly as possible so that customers can see the amended timetable.  Where we have contact details, we will be in touch with customers offering advice on moving their booking to alternative services, or if they prefer, offering a full refund.  Everyone who has booked to travel will be able to do so, though it might mean moving to a different service.

We are also monitoring ticket sales on our reservable services and where trains have reached or are close to social distancing capacity, we are no longer taking bookings for those services.  

Other train operators continue to provide services, although these are expected to be busy, and customers can also choose to switch to travel by coach. National Express, Megabus and Snap are all putting on extra services during the Christmas travel window.

We know how important it is that we get this right and we are doing all we can to reduce inconvenience and to support our customers.  We do however face a significant challenge with so many key staff unable to report for work.

Government travel advice remains to only use public transport if necessary having looked at all other options. This will help us support those who have no other option to travel by train to be able to do so. If you are able to help us to spread the message about checking journeys before travelling at gwr.com/check we will be very grateful.

I know you will join with me in wishing our crew a speedy recovery and you have my assurance that we are doing all we can to make sure customers are able to complete their journeys.

Best regards

Matthew

Matthew Golton | Interim Managing Director | Great Western Railway
Milford House | 1 Milford Street | Swindon | SN1 1HL