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Southeastern to increase number of trains running from Monday amid coronavirus pandemic

A Kent travel operator will increase the number of trains in service from next week - but is still asking people to only use them if "absolutely necessary".

From Monday, Southeastern will make revisions to its timetable, increasing it from 50% to 70% of usual service.

Southeastern will increase its service from Monday
Southeastern will increase its service from Monday

It will also make some trains longer.

These changes will help passengers stay socially distant from one another during the coronavirus outbreak.

But unlike other companies, such as London North Eastern Railway (LNER), Southeastern says it will not be introducing a reservation system for passengers.

Instead it asks people to "plan ahead, consider others and stay safe".

A spokesman for Southeastern said: "Starting from next week - Monday, May 18 - we will be increasing the number of trains that are running, and running longer trains in some places.

"As the government has said, there will be space for as little as a tenth of the usual number of people on the railway, so people should only travel by train if absolutely necessary.

"Please help us, our people, and those who need to travel by not making unnecessary journeys.

"If you do have to travel, plan ahead, consider others and stay safe.

"We need the public’s help because, while we will do everything we can to enable social distancing it may not be possible at all points throughout a journey, for example at particular pinch points.

"To stay safe, people should keep their distance as much as possible."

The number of people using the railway could rise after lockdown measures were eased this week.

'To stay safe, people should keep their distance as much as possible...'

People can now exercise more freely and more people have returned to work.

In light of this, Southeastern is asking all passengers to wear face coverings while travelling on their trains.

The spokesman added: "People should also plan ahead, leave longer for their journey, travel at quieter times and use our smart ticketing option, The Key, or buy their ticket online.

"As more people return to the network, Southeastern and Network Rail will be making changes to stations and trains to help those who have to travel to do so safely.

"On top of more frequent and thorough cleaning at stations and on trains, these measures will include signage around stations and on trains encouraging social distancing and one-way systems at busier stations."

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