A REDUCED timetable introduced to tackle staffing shortages brought on by the Omicron variant will stay in place for Swindon commuters.

GWR introduced the changes at the start of the month after crews were hit hard by surging Covid case numbers. They were due to be in place until January 23,

During the week, one train an hour leaves Swindon for Cardiff Central, Swansea and Cheltenham Spa. There are two trains an hour which depart for Bristol Temple Meads and at least three heading to London Paddington.

GWR managing director Mark Hopwood said: “We are taking some sensible measures using the experience, knowledge and good processes we have developed over the past 20 months to give customers confidence in our timetable.

“In the past few weeks, we have already taken steps to maintain service levels across the network, including cancelling all driver training.

“Like many other businesses we are expecting prolonged periods of staff absence due to Covid to continue in the coming weeks and the objective of this temporary timetable is to provide a service that can be relied on, reducing the potential for ad hoc short-notice cancellations.

“We will be reviewing the need for temporary changes weekly and will update journey planners and our website gwr.com with details of any changes needed for the week ahead.”

GWR is advising passengers to check before they travel, especially if they booked their train before January 5 and are not a regular traveller.