Published on: Friday, 23 April 2021
Last updated: Monday, 22 August 2022
You can use our trains to get out and about as shops, pubs/restaurants with outdoor seating, zoos and other outdoor venues are starting to re-open. However, Government advice is still to minimise your journeys, work from home if possible and continue to follow all the rules about hands, face and space. We’re looking forward to welcoming you back..
Does this mean that you’re going to put on more trains?
There are still fewer passengers than pre-Covid levels - currently around a third of the numbers before the pandemic and, as we just mentioned, the Government is still asking people to minimise their journeys. We have re-introduced some services in recent weeks, but we’re still running a reduced timetable, now with about 82 per cent of our normal timetable.
Is it safe to use your trains? Can I socially distance on them?
Yes. We’re doing everything we can so that you can travel with confidence with us. As lockdown is easing, we are seeing growing numbers of passengers, and some rush hour trains, especially in the early mornings, are beginning to get busier, although it is still possible to easily socially distance on most of our trains, especially if you move down the train and use the full length.
We’ve made it easier for you to decide which train to travel on, if you have some flexibility, with our less busy trains tool on our website which lists services with fewer passengers. Some routes, especially at peak times, may also have convenient alternative services with more capacity available not long before or after the train you were originally planning. Please check before you travel using our app or website for latest service announcements.
On busy trains, it may not always be possible to socially distance for the entire journey, but we have other measures in place to keep you safe on board our trains:
- We’re cleaning and sanitising our trains and stations using powerful equipment including special fogging guns and virucides, with particular attention to high touch areas such as door handles, push buttons and grab rails. Did you know that in the last year we’ve used 26.5k litres of virucide to sanitise our trains? Find out more facts and figures about our cleaning
- We have very high levels of face covering compliance – but please remember some customers and staff are exempt from wearing face coverings
- The air conditioning on our trains draws in a carriage’s worth of fresh air every six to nine minutes. Doors opening at stations also allow fresh air into carriages. Trains without air conditioning have windows which can open.
- We’re running new longer trains on many of our routes – and continuing to introduce more into passenger service – so there’s more space for you to spread out while on the train, especially as our passenger numbers are still much lower than pre-Covid levels on most services
We’ve made it easier for you to socially distance at stations, with clear signs, floor markings, one-way systems and clear plastic screens between ticket machines.
Check out our Safer Travel Pledge for more information.
Please help us to help you keep safe.
You can take a few simple actions to help us to help you and other passengers keep safe while on board:
- Do not travel if you have any symptoms of coronavirus such as a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a change or loss to your sense of smell or taste.
- Wear a face covering while on our stations and trains – and make sure it covers your nose and mouth. It’s compulsory to wear a face covering, unless you’re exempt, as this helps to keep everyone safe and prevent the spread of coronavirus.
- Wash or sanitise your hands regularly. We’re keeping soap and water topped up in toilets and there’s hand sanitiser available at all our staffed stations. It’s a good idea to carry a small bottle of hand sanitiser with you.
- Use the full length of the platform and train. Stand back to let other passengers off before you board. Please don’t congregate near the doors. Consider sitting in a window seat so there’s more distance between you and the aisle.
Spend less time at the station by planning your journey and buying your ticket before you set off. Since we’re not running our normal timetable it’s best to check before you set off that your train is in service.
There’s a lot of information on our website to help you plan your journey – including our less busy train tool which we mentioned earlier. You may find there is a quieter train not long before or after the one you were originally planning to catch.
You can easily buy tickets online using our website or app – we’ve written a blog to help you find a cheap ticket online.
I use a wheelchair – will someone still be able to help me, if I need it?
Yes, of course, we’ll be happy to help you. If you need assistance, we will still help you, although it’s a little bit different since pre-Covid as we must make sure we keep you and our staff safe. Our staff will discuss with you what assistance you require and how they’ll do it maintaining social distance until the assistance is required. Our staff will wear a face covering while they assist you, but if you’re having difficulty hearing them or you need to lip read, they’ll remove it. If you need staff to push your wheelchair or handle your luggage, they’ll sanitise the handles first.
If you need sighted guiding, please sanitise your hands before making physical contact. We don’t expect you to wear gloves. Please wear a face covering, unless you’re exempt, and maintain a safe social distance until the member of staff is ready to help.
If possible, please pre-book your assistance to give us time to prepare.