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Following discussions with local politicians about helping children travelling to schools in Gloucester, long distance train operator CrossCountry has announced it will reintroduce stops in its morning train through Chepstow and Lydney from 2 November.
Since children resumed regular schooling in September, parents and stakeholders have highlighted how temporary changes to CrossCountry timetables because of the Coronavirus pandemic had increased the time needed travelling to schools in Gloucestershire. Children were now needing to leave earlier to reach school on time and returning later in the afternoon.
On Friday 16 October, CrossCountry spoke with local MPs David T C Davies and Mark Harper to discuss ways to help the children. Following the meeting, CrossCountry has committed to resume the morning departures from Chepstow at 0715 and Lydney at 0724 to Gloucester after the half-term break. CrossCountry will also work with local stakeholders to discuss possible options to replace the afternoon return service.
Speaking after the meeting, CrossCountry’s Managing Director, Tom Joyner, said: “I am delighted we’ve been able to put the stops back and help these children get to school. We listened carefully to feedback after we made these changes, and I am thankful to David and Mark for their time today on behalf of their constituents. Fortunately, we have been able to resolve this situation while still achieving most of the important benefits the changes delivered.
“There is still work to be done to solve the afternoon return for the children, and my team will continue working with local stakeholders and industry colleagues to seek an early solution.”
Commenting on the announcement, David TC Davies MP and Mark Harper MP said: “We are grateful to CrossCountry for listening to our request and resuming the morning train from Chepstow and Lydney to Gloucester. The extended school day was just another pressure on the children at this difficult time and we are pleased to see this positive change. We will now work with CrossCountry to see how we can support their options to resolve the evening service so the children can get home earlier.”
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In April, as part of efforts to keep train services running safely and reliably during the ongoing pandemic, CrossCountry reduced or removed stops at several stations across Britain. This allowed more time at busier stations for people to board and alight while social distancing and ensured a more reliable timetable for their journeys. In west England and Wales, this included many stops at Chepstow, Lydney, Caldicot and Severn Tunnel Junction, although care was taken to ensure an overall level of service was maintained alongside other services by Transport for Wales.
Notes to Editors:
CrossCountry’s network is the most geographically-extensive passenger rail franchise in Britain. Stretching from Aberdeen to Penzance and from Stansted to Cardiff, it calls at over 100 stations. Based in Birmingham, CrossCountry connects seven of the Britain’s 10 largest cities and delivers 298 services every weekday,
equating to some 40 million passenger journeys a year.
CrossCountry is part of the Arriva group, one of the leading providers of passenger transport in Europe. Arriva employs over 46,000 people and delivers over 2 billion passenger journeys across 14 European countries each year.