Light rail networks take a hit


LIGHT RAIL and metro operators mirrored heavy rail operators in reducing services following the introduction of social distancing measures as passenger demand fell.

Blackpool Transport temporarily suspended tram services on its Fleetwood to Starr Gate route from 29 March, with bus service 1 operating to a revised timetable to provide a suitable alternative for passengers.

On the Metrolink network in Manchester, revised schedules from 24 March featured a 12-minute frequency throughout the day, with trams starting at 06.00 (07.00 on Sundays) and finishing at 23.00. By early April this had reduced to a 20-minute frequency all day with services finishing at 22.00.

On the Tyne & Wear Metro, initial service reductions from 19 March saw peak hour services cancelled. From 24 March further reductions across the day saw a 24-minute frequency introduced on the two core services (combining to give a train every 12 minutes between Pelaw and South Gosforth), reducing to a 30-minute frequency in the evenings.

The Supertram network in Sheffield implemented revised timetables from 23 March with a general 20-minute frequency, but from 1 April this was further cut to hourly, with the Yellow and Blue routes operating half-hourly in the morning peak only. The tram-train service linking Sheffield with Rotherham Parkgate also ran hourly but only until 18.30.

The Nottingham Express Transit network reverted to a Sunday service seven days a week from 24 March, with trams operating every 10 minutes for most of the day and every 15 minutes in the mornings and evenings on the two routes.

The West Midlands Metro’s temporary timetable took effect from 30 March, with trams every 12 minutes for most of the day and every 15 minutes before 06.30 and after 20.00 on Mondays to Saturdays, with Sunday services operating as normal. Transport for West Midlands also offered NHS staff free travel on buses and trams.

From 28 March the Glasgow Subway suspended its inner circle service, with trains operating on the outer circle only at an eight-minute frequency and with an earlier finish on Mondays to Saturdays at 20.30.