UK-based rail operator Grand Central Railway has announced that it will extend the suspension of train services throughout June, amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The operator is monitoring the advice of the government for social distancing and has planned to restart services later this year.

In April, Grand Central Railway temporarily suspended its train services from 3 April due to travel restrictions leading to a reduction in passenger numbers.

Many rail services have introduced a limited timetable and social distancing rules this week.

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Grand Central MD Richard McClean stated that they are monitoring the passenger demand and formulating the plans to return.

McClean said: “Being an Open Access train operator means, unlike franchised operators, we must sell enough tickets to cover our operating costs. The safety of our staff and passengers is essential but social distancing rules mean we cannot yet welcome the number of customers needed to run the service sustainably.

”I think over the coming month we’ll get a really informative picture of passenger attitude, Government intentions and how the industry is dealing with social distancing but for now the most sensible course of action for us is to monitor all this and use the time to plan our return.”

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Most of the staff is currently aided by the UK Government’s furlough scheme. The skeleton team is in process of finalising the plans with parent company Arriva.

Founded in 2007, Grand Central started services with the introduction of Sunderland – Kings Cross route.

McClean added: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the messages of support we are getting from our passengers.

“We recently conducted a survey of attitudes amongst our customers and social media followers. We enjoyed a huge response and it was heartening to see how many people and communities rely on us and can’t wait to be back on board.”