CHANGES to train timetables are putting school children at “unnecessary risk”, a furious parent has insisted.

As a response to increased numbers of people working at home, Greater Anglia has reduced the number of trains running on its line through Essex.

A Southend High School for Boys parent has now slammed the firm, urging them to re-instate additional services to stop children waiting for trains in the dark and cold.

His son travels from Prittlewell to Wickford every day, before getting a train to Southminster.

Due to the reduced timetable moving trains from Wickford to Southminister to just one every hour, his son has been forced to wait 45 minutes for his connecting train.

Rob McCracken, a dad-of-two, said: “The removal of this train now means that my children get back an hour later than normal, and I am sure many children are affected in similar ways.

“I don’t need to state the obvious, but it is January, it is cold, and it can be an unsafe place to be waiting unnecessary extra time.

“This is a serious issue that will affect the safety and well-being of potentially hundreds of children, putting young people at unnecessary risk.”

Before the changes, school children could get the train from Prittlewell at 3.52pm and arrive at Wickford for 4.11pm, a train would then take them from Wickford at 4.14pm.

The train from Prittlewell is unaffected, however, the Wickford to Southminster has changed to every hour, on the hour, meaning the next train isn’t until 5pm.

A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: “We have made some more temporary changes to our timetable to reflect the current situation with the pandemic and the significant reduction in passengers currently travelling.

“We’re now running around 74 per cent of services compared to the pre-pandemic timetable.

“We’re monitoring the situation daily and listening to customer feedback, to see if any adjustments to services are appropriate.

“Our aim is always to provide the best possible and most efficient service, recognising the significant taxpayer support the rail industry continues to receive.

“We’ll communicate any further changes to customers.”