THE number of trains using the rail network during peak hours in Cheshire was increased from yesterday (Monday, September 14).

Northern have reminded its customers to make sure they plan for the changes as it introduces the new timetables, designed to provide additional services during the morning and evening peaks.

The timetables represent the 'new normal' for rail travellers as the network continues to feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, they don’t represent a return to pre-covid service levels, but do reflect the challenges facing Northern and the changing demands of customers, many of whom will be returning to schools and workplaces for the first time in several months.

Steve Hopkinson, Regional Director at Northern, said: "As more people return to workplaces and children return to schools it is important that everyone takes note of the new train times and plans their journeys carefully.

"And, of course, anyone travelling by train still needs to be conscious of coronavirus and continue following advice on how to keep themselves, and others, as safe as possible.

"Through enhanced cleaning and an increase in services, we are doing all we can to allow our customers to travel with confidence but, by following a few simple steps, passengers can also help themselves."

Northern customers are advised to:

Always wear a face covering when on a train or at a station (unless specific exemptions apply)

Regularly wash hands before and after travel and use hand sanitiser when on the network

Take all litter and rubbish of trains and use the bins provided

Be considerate of others

Respect our staff who are working to keep people on the move

Travel outside of peak hours where possible

Plan journeys carefully and be aware of the new train times

Steve added: "We know these are challenging times and some people may be nervous about returning to the railway, particularly during busy periods.

"It is, therefore, vitally important that everyone plays their part in helping reduce potential transmission of coronavirus.

"Trains are likely to be busier than they have been in recent months, but we are ready to welcome people back to the railway and are bringing in additional services for many major towns and cities to give customers more journey choice and flexibility.

"We have brought in as many additional services as possible with the resource we have available.

"Many members of staff have been shielding for much of this year and the knock-on effects of the virus will be felt for several months.

"As a result, we have prioritised routes and times where there is the most significant demand to ensure as many people as possible can get where they need to be, when they need to be there."

Details of Northern’s new timetables can be found online or via National Rail Enquiries.