One in five train services could be AXED next year as treasury tightens the purse-strings

A fifth of rail services could be cut next year because Ministers are struggling to control a ballooning multi-billion-pound taxpayer bill.

Whitehall officials are looking at plans that could see rail capacity slashed to around 80 per cent of pre-pandemic service levels.

It is one of the measures under serious consideration following Treasury pressure to reduce the strain on the public purse from propping up the country’s rail network.

Whitehall officials are looking at plans that could see rail capacity slashed to around 80 per cent of pre-pandemic service levels

Whitehall officials are looking at plans that could see rail capacity slashed to around 80 per cent of pre-pandemic service levels

Whitehall officials are looking at plans that could see rail capacity slashed to around 80 per cent of pre-pandemic service levels

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is reported to have approved a modest £2.1 billion to ensure services keep running during the next financial year, constituting less than a quarter of the £9 billion estimated bill for the year to March 2021.

Experts have already warned that the financial challenges of coronavirus, compounded by a highly infectious new strain of the virus, are likely to result in a delayed recovery in rail passenger numbers.

Ministers warned last week that Tier 4 restrictions may be necessary for a couple of months, amid speculation some badly hit regions could be in lockdown until Easter.

It is understood any cuts would come in the next timetable change due in May.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is reported to have approved a modest £2.1 billion to ensure services keep running during the next financial year

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is reported to have approved a modest £2.1 billion to ensure services keep running during the next financial year

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is reported to have approved a modest £2.1 billion to ensure services keep running during the next financial year

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