Omicron staff shortages: Extra service calling at Meldreth after rail group intervention

GNER trains into London Kings Cross are delayed or cancelled today.

A special stop is in place for South Cambs villagers going to Cambridge. - Credit: Archant

Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton rail users had their reinstated half-hourly service snatched back when staff shortages due to Omicron hit - however, a special service has been put in place to help during the school commute in South Cambs. 

Susan van de Ven is the chair of the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group - which has been making representations to get services back up and running.  

And as of Monday this week, there is an extra stop in place on weekdays. 

In a statement, she told the Crow: "As local rail users will be painfully aware, our half-hourly service, restored on December 12, was quickly pulled back again as Omicron thrashed train service staffing levels – just as it has impacted staffing levels in schools, hospitals, social care and indeed all sectors. 

Susan van de Ven on train

Susan van de Ven is the chair of the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group. - Credit: Susan van de Ven

"The temporary hourly service does not lend itself to the morning school run for all those children and young people heading to school and college in Cambridge, resulting in reliance on car commuting and all the problems that entails. 

"GTR is adamant that the half-hourly will be reinstated as soon as staffing levels permit.

"Meanwhile in response to strenuous representations, GTR have looked hard at possible measures to alleviate the current temporary situation and have come up with an extra service which will stop at Meldreth only on weekdays, at 8:01, from Royston and on to Cambridge. 

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"This involves using a special stop order which requires the driver to accept the instruction, as it will not show on their diagram. 

"For this week this will only go into journey planners the evening before, typically overnight.  Beyond this week GTR hopes to include this stop in the plan but this will take some time to confirm.  The arrangement was tested out on Friday and worked well. 

"Our thanks to GTR for working with us to help local rail users in these extraordinary circumstances until such time as normal service is restored.

"Please remember to travel safely for yourself and others, and wear a mask while on the train."

For more on the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group go to meldrethsheprethfoxtonrail.org.uk.


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