GREAT Western Railway (GWR) has announced a temporary reduced timetable due to Covid pressures.

GWR has said the reduced temporary timetable, that comes into effect from Saturday, is being put in place because of "Covid-related staff absences".

GWR says the changes Worcestershire commuters will notice are:

• 04:49 Hereford to London Paddington will start from Oxford (except Monday 10 January)

• 22:00 Hereford to London Paddington will not run between Worcester Shrub Hill and Oxford

• 19:50 London Paddington to Hereford will terminate at Worcester Shrub Hill

• 22:50 London Paddington to Worcester Shrub Hill will terminate at Oxford

A GWR spokesman said: "To give that some context, direct services from Hereford to London Paddington are scheduled to run at 06.43, 13.18 and 15.18, with a further 13 services from Worcester Shrub Hill to London Paddington throughout the day."

The GWR spokesman added there would be no impact for commuters this weekend, only seeing the altered timetable from January 10.

GWR says the reduced timetable will be updated on a weekly basis and is only expected to be in operation for a short time – until the impact of the Omicron variant has lessened.

GWR's managing director Mark Hopwood said:  “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.

“This means reducing our timetable a little to shore up the large number of services we continue to operate. We have prioritised high-use school, college and other known key worker services and we very much hope that the changes will only be needed for a short period.

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

“As always our advice to customers is please check your journey before you leave home at”