Hundreds more daily train services have been cut as a result of Covid-related staff shortages, Press Association reports.

Avanti West Coast, c2c, East Midlands Railway and South Western Railway are all introducing emergency timetables from Monday, January 17 to reduce short-notice cancellations.

Other operators have also taken this measure in recent weeks as the Omicron variant has caused more staff to isolate.

Earlier this month it was estimated that around 10% of rail staff were absent from work.

South Western Railway’s emergency timetable will see it operate 28% fewer weekday trains compared with pre-pandemic levels.

That is compared with the 17% reduction in its most recent timetable.

The firm’s managing director, Claire Mann, said the change is “the most effective means of ensuring our customers receive a reliable service”.

Avanti West Coast will only run one train per hour in both directions on each of its routes connecting London Euston with Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester.

Just one daily return service will operate between the capital and Holyhead, North Wales via Chester.

East Midlands Railway said it is removing 4% of services from its timetable to avoid short-notice cancellations which are “incredibly frustrating” for passengers.

This will “protect” those trains which are “important for customers who are still travelling”, it added.

For c2c, sixteen services will be removed from the weekday timetable, which operates between London Fenchurch Street and south Essex.

Industry body the Rail Delivery Group said reliability has been boosted by those operators which have already reduced services.

It added that just 2.1% of all trains were cancelled in the seven days to Friday, which is below the annual average of around 3%.

Passengers are advised to check for updates before setting out on their journey, or sign up for automatic alerts from National Rail Alert Me.

Provisional Department for Transport figures show demand for rail travel was at 55% of pre-pandemic levels earlier this week.