Rail commuters face delays linked to covid and faults on return to work

Rail travelers experienced disruption on the first day of work of the year in England and Wales due to a combination of disruption and coronavirus-related staff shortages.

Due to a malfunction on a train, London Overground services could not operate between Clapham Junction and Surrey Quays on Tuesday morning.

National Rail Inquiries warned passengers that an “issue under investigation” between Darlington and York was causing inter-station disruption.

This affected CrossCountry, London North Eastern Railway and TransPennine Express.

The Merseyrail service between Kirkdale and Kirkby has been suspended due to a power problem.

In Slade Green, south east London, after an electrical failure, urgent repairs were made to replace part of the signaling system.

The problem meant that the line through the station towards Dartford was blocked as far as the southeastern trains were concerned.

Network Rail tweeted that it had dispatched technicians to Lewisham, also in south east London, to fix new points that “worked fine all night testing and now, of course, have gone wrong”.

The problem caused a disruption of south-eastern connections on one of the main routes into the capital.

Rail travel across the UK has also been impacted by many operators with reduced timetables to improve reliability after weeks of short-term cancellations due to staff shortages due to the coronavirus pandemic.

ScotRail rolled out a tentative weekday schedule on Tuesday as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 has resulted in a “large number of absenteeism”.

More than 150 daily connections have been canceled, including routes such as Glasgow to Edinburgh via Airdrie / Bathgate; Glasgow Central to Lanark; Edinburgh to North Berwick; and Edinburgh to Tweedbank.

Other examples include Southern London not serving Victoria until January 10th, while CrossCountry has cut around 50 daily trains from its schedules by next week.

Demand for rail travel is around 50% of pre-pandemic levels.

This is in part because of the guidance for people to work from home.

The first working day of the year in Scotland is Wednesday.

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