Trains between Axminster and London to become less frequent amid rise in Omicron

TRAINS between Exeter and London Waterloo, which pass through Axminster, will be less frequent as a temporary timetable is launched on January 17.

The temporary South Western Railway (SWR) timetable is said to be designed to “ensure reliability for customers and cater to key workers, school pupils and those who cannot work from home”.

The emergence of Omicron has necessitated the need for a new temporary timetable, with staff shortages across SWR having led to unavoidable short-notice cancellations.

With current guidance to work from home, SWR says this timetable will still sufficiently meet current demand.

Key timetable changes include:

  • The Waterloo to Exeter services will split at Salisbury
  • The Waterloo to Weymouth services will split at Bournemouth
  • The Shepperton branch will reduce to hourly
  • Waterloo to Alton will reduce to hourly
  • Waterloo to Basingstoke will reduce to hourly
  • The last train of each day will be earlier than at present

Trains between Exeter St Davids and London Waterloo will run about every two hours for most of the day except during peak early evening time. Passengers will likely have to change at Salisbury.

You can find the temporary timetable here.

Rigorous planning has gone into developing this timetable to deliver the right level of service for the current situation, but SWR will continue to monitor its services to ensure that they continue to deliver for its customers.

These temporary timetable changes will remain under review going forward.

Core timetables are available through the SWR website, with journey planners set to be updated on a week-by-week basis.

Updates will take place towards the end of each week, so customers are advised to check before they travel via

SWR’s managing director Claire Mann said: “The spread of the Omicron variant has had a significant impact on our railway, with fewer people using the train and staff shortages impacting on our ability to consistently deliver the current timetable.

“Having assessed demand and spoken to our industry colleagues, we believe this new timetable is the most effective means of ensuring our customers receive a reliable service, with short-notice cancellations minimised.

“Journey planners will be updated on a week-by-week basis, with updates taking place towards the end of each week. Customers should check their journey as close to their time of travel as possible.”

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