The train now leaving Leighton Buzzard has as many passengers as staff on board!

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Route to London almost deserted as commuters answer plea to avoid public transport

A rush-hour commuter train at Leighton Buzzard had just TWO passengers and two staff on board for its journey to London.

The 0710 London Northwestern Railway service from Northampton broke down between the station and Ledburn Junction.

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It finally limped in to Cheddington more than a hour late where the driver and conductor logged two passengers getting off to wait for a following service.

A normally packed Northampton commuter train had just two passengers on boardA normally packed Northampton commuter train had just two passengers on board
A normally packed Northampton commuter train had just two passengers on board | other

Passenger numbers have stayed low following pleas to only use public transport as a last resort in the wake of Prime Minister Boris Johnson 'return to work' message.

But this even stunned bosses at the train operator — which runs services from Birmingham to London via Northampton — and a spokesman insisted this was by no means typical.

A spokesman for London Northwestern Railway said: "Passenger numbers on individual services will vary day-to-day and we are monitoring travel patterns closely

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“To help enable social distancing, public transport should be reserved for those making essential journeys where no other transport option is available and we would like to thank our customers for continuing to follow this advice closely.”

Tuesday morning's 12-car London Northwestern service to London would normally have around 800 seats but that is currently reduced dramatically to allow for social distancing on board.

Each car now has room for just 15 passengers, two metres apart, and train bosses last week put out an appeal to stay away from services to ensure NHS staff and other key workers could travel safely.

LNWR customer experience director Jonny Wiseman said: “Maintaining social distancing on the railway network is a real challenge because the concept goes against the entire principle of mass transit. We have had to think hard and move fast to bring in new ways of moving people within social distancing constraints.

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“It is absolutely essential that our customers play their part by being kind, considerate and travelling responsibly. Only use public transport if you absolutely have to travel and have no other alternative.”