Between the Lines: September 2020

Hayward Heath: commuters await the arrival of No 700114 with the 09.02 Brighton to Bedford service on 6 August 2019.
John Vaughan

Until March, at around 07.30 on any weekday morning, London-bound platforms at almost any station up to 50 miles from the capital would be lined with commuters, in many cases taking journeys of half an hour or more, and mostly travelling on trains with a significant proportion of passengers standing, with some routes crush loaded at the height of the peak.

Even before the Covid pandemic, this traditional pattern had begun to fray round the edges, with trains noticeably less busy on Mondays and Fridays. Car park occupation was a good indicator, with many car parks full to bursting – but only midweek. Flexible working, already a developing trend, with people working from home one or two days a week, has now dramatically accelerated.

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