The Southeast Communities Rail Partnership (SCRP), the community interest company which works to connect communities with their railway across the southeast, is urging former passengers to return to their trains, and prospective passengers to use the train.


The number of people travelling by train has fallen dramatically this year, and is still under half of what it was a year ago even though the second lockdown has finished.


Chair of the SCRP, Tim Barkley, said:- “I have been very impressed at the efforts the train operating companies have made to ensure train travel is as safe as it can be. Trains and stations are regularly cleaned throughout the day, with frequent ‘deep cleaning’ too, and more carriages added to ensure that passengers are able to socially distance. As Southern says, you really can ‘travel with confidence’.


“The SCRP is concerned at the lack of passengers travelling by train now, and the impact this could have on the railway locally, and nationally, in the longer term. We all realise that the current service is being very heavily subsidised by the government, and that cannot continue for ever. The local railway provides a vital lifeline that is quite invaluable and is very sustainable. I would urge past passengers to return to the train, and encourage new passengers to try the railway, whilst obviously still travelling within the rules and national guidelines.


“This is a perfect opportunity to start planning how we can explore our beautiful region by rail, leaving the car behind and maintaining good low carbon travel habits. Many of our splendid walking and cycling trails can be accessed by rail and bus.”