Separation is key

The announcement of the end of Covid restrictions in England on 19 July was greeted with wildly varying reactions.

Setting aside that restrictions will be moving at a different pace in the devolved nations, for rail this change has probably four main implications. The opening up of those parts of the economy which have remained closed, and removal of capacity limits elsewhere, offers the potential for an increase in passenger numbers as people get out and about more.

Another imperative for an increase in rail use could be the end of the instruction to work from home where possible. Will this encourage people to return to offices and restore some of the core commuting business on which rail was so reliant pre-Covid? Given that the changes coincided with the start of the school summer holidays, an immediate uptick seemed unlikely, and in any case it will probably be September before most companies have made detailed plans for a resumption of office working.

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