West Midlands trains and bus services disrupted as staff off sick with Covid

West Midlands Railway and National Express both report increasing members of staff are currently off work due to Covid-19

Covid cases continue to spiral across the region with public transport workers also becoming affected.

West Midlands Railway and National Express have both reported that staff are becoming ill.

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On the trains West Midlands Railway said they had over 100 absences which has led to the train operator scaling back services on some routes as the highly transmissable Omicron variant continues to wreak havoc with daily life.

National Express West Midlands said bus drivers have also being struck by the bug with “increasing numbers of employees absent recently due to Omicron”.

They did not report any changes to services.

What rail services are experiencing disruption in the West Midlands?

West Midlands Railway confirmed that as of this morning, the company has more than 100 colleagues off work due to the Omicron variant – about 5% of its workforce.

Six fewer services are running on weekdays between Birmingham and Shrewsbury until further notice, and buses are also replacing trains between Nuneaton and Leamington Spa.

From Shrewsbury to Birmingham these three services will not be running: 06.51hrs, 09.11hrs, and 16.41hrs

From Birmingham to Shrewsbury, these three services will not be running: 08.00hrs, 15.34hrs and 18.00hrs

A spokesman for West Midlands Railway, said: “We currently have an increased number of staff unavailable for work due to the ongoing impact of the Omicron variant.

“While we are making every effort to cover as many services as possible, we are urging passengers to check their journeys before travelling in case of short-notice cancellations.”

Are any other services disrupted?

Elsewhere, ScotRail implemented a temporary weekday timetable on Tuesday as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 has resulted in a “large number of absences”.

And the Rail Delivery Group said that almost one in 10 rail workers were off work.

A spokesman for Great Western Railway said that yesterday (January 3) there were less than 20 planned cancellations across the GWR network from more than 1,300 trains, and today (January 4) there are less than 10 planned cancellations from 1,600 trains.

CrossCountry services have also been affected.

A CrossCountry spokeswoman, said: “We have seen an increase in staff absence due to Omicron, which is resulting in some short-notice cancellations across the network.

“We are working hard alongside industry partners to provide the most reliable service possible. We have eased ticket restrictions in some instances to provide greater flexibility and advise passengers to check their journeys online before travelling.”

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