The worsening coronavirus situation across Europe has continued to affect sales of our main product, the European Rail Timetable, with far fewer readers travelling than normal. With more stringent restrictions now being implemented in many countries and no clear timescale for a return to anything like normal travel conditions, the future of our publication continues to be under threat. In the United Kingdom many businesses have been ordered to close for at least a month which includes many of our sales outlets. As a consequence, we have once again had to take the difficult decision to suspend publication for a short period while countries continue their efforts to tackle the virus.
The company will apply to use the U.K. Government’s job retention (furlough) scheme from November 5 to December 2 during which time most of the ERT staff will not be working. We will maintain a skeleton staff which means, while commercial activities will be reduced, all existing products will continue to be available to purchase through our website.
Following our full return to work in early December we will continue preparations for our expanded Winter edition but, with one month’s work still to be done, we will have to delay publication of the Winter edition by a similar period. Therefore, the Winter edition will now be available for dispatch on January 20 (with the digital version available a week earlier, on January 13). These changes do mean that the January 2021 digital edition will not be published and, although the February 2021 will be published, it will only be available in digital format. We then plan to resume normal publication from the March digital edition.
All of our subscription holders will, of course, be informed and automatically have their subscription extended by one edition to replace the cancelled February 2021 printed edition. Customers who have made advance orders will also be contacted. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and update our readers further on our full return to work on December 3 with any other information communicated through our Friday Flyer newsletter.
We do apologise for this further disruption to timetable production. However, we believe this is the right decision to ensure the timetable can continue in the long-term. We sincerely hope our readers continue to stay safe during these difficult times and can resume their travels around Europe (and beyond) at some point in the not too distant future.