WEST Midlands Railway services from Worcester to Hereford will cease next week.

The company said the changes will come into effect as passenger numbers continue to fall and increased numbers of rail staff are self-isolating, and have been designed to keep as many services running as possible if part of the network has to close due to the increased impact of Covid-19.

Julian Edwards, managing director of West Midlands Railway, said: “The rail industry is facing our biggest challenge in peacetime. We are working together to operate a regular service for our key workers and those making only the most essential journeys.

“With increased numbers of rail workers entering self-isolation due to coronavirus and a big drop in passenger numbers, now is the right time to make further changes to our service. As the government has made clear, people should only use the train for essential journeys.

“I would like to pay special tribute to our front-line staff, including drivers, conductors, dispatchers, station teams, engineers, cleaners and those in our control centres. Their hard work and dedication to keeping the trains running are helping key workers save lives.”

The new timetable, which will be available to view at www.wmr.uk/coronavirus from tomorrow, has been built in ‘chunks’ to reduce the length of journeys taken by an individual train.