UK-based Rail Delivery Group has announced that there is a 25% increase in people planning for rail journeys this week, which has prompted train companies to urge passengers to only travel when necessary.

Passengers have been asked to only undertake essential travel amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which has increased the need for social distancing.

From next week, the rail industry has planned to increase services and operate longer trains, which are expected to boost social distancing.

Even with the additional services, the trains will only be able to accommodate around one-tenth of the usual capacity.

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The rail industry has asked passengers to plan ahead and purchase tickets online, as well as not travel during rush hour.

Passengers are advised to wear a face covering and maintain social distancing.

Rail Delivery Group Nations and Regions director Robert Nisbet said: “To keep people safe, there will only be space on trains for as few as a tenth of the usual number of people despite train companies gradually increase services next week. We need people’s help to keep trains clear for those who really need them so we are asking people to consider alternatives like cycling or walking and if that’s not possible, to travel at quieter times.

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“We are doing everything possible to keep passengers and staff safe, including cleaning trains and stations several times a day, managing capacity and increasing signage to help people get around.

“For those who do need to take the train, we ask that they plan ahead, consider others and stay safe when they use public transport. That means buying tickets online for quieter times of day, maintaining social distancing wherever possible, wearing a face covering and keeping hands sanitised.”