Every week, key workers from Network Rail’s Anglia region enable thousands of tonnes of vital medical supplies, food, drinks and consumer goods to be transported around the country during the Coronavirus outbreak.

A reduced passenger timetable was introduced last month (March) so a reliable service would be in operation to get key workers, such as NHS staff, to work while keeping lines open for key freight services to run.

  • There are currently up to 72 freight trains in and out of Felixstowe in Suffolk and up to 20 freight trains in and out from London Gateway in Essex, carrying up to 500,000t of products each week, including food, drinks, consumer goods and vital medical supplies
  • Up to 2000t of silica sand is also being moved from Middleton Towers quarry near Kings Lynn to numerous industrial plants in the north of England for use in glass and bottle production
  • Two trains per week supporting the oil and gas industry with moves of gas condensate from North Walsham in Norfolk to Harwich in Essex
  • On a daily basis, a dedicated Tesco train runs to Barking and Purfleet bringing supermarket products into the region from the national warehouse at Daventry. This service is particularly important for the restocking of Tesco supermarkets with consumer demand being high during the ongoing situation.

It has been possible to meet this demand thanks to dedication of Network Rail teams who have continued to work as they are listed as key workers by the Government and the help of passengers who have taken advice of only to travel when it is essential.

Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “Our role is critical in keeping Britain running, and even more so in the challenging times we’re experiencing now. Our teams are working hard to keep lines open for key workers as well as enabling freight services to run to keep shelves stocked and deliver vital medical supplies and equipment. “The railway’s ‘key workers’ are the hidden heroes in this national effort to support the country through this challenging time.”

Meanwhile, passengers are reminded to travel only if essential and a reduced timetable is operating on the rail network. This will ensure that critical supplies and key workers are able to keep moving over the coming months to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Passengers are advised to visit www.nationalrail.co.uk  to check the revised train times for their essential journeys.