Common questions Page updated Monday 26 October 2020 13:47

Here, we provide answers to some of the most common questions rail passengers might have about what Coronavirus means for them, their journey and the railway.

Before you travel

What are the coronavirus alert levels and can I travel by train?
There are three-tier coronavirus alert levels:

Tier 1 - Medium Alert   There are no restrictions on travel or use of public transport. Click here for more information.  
Tier 2 - High Alert  Make fewer journeys in this area if possible. Click here for more information.  
Tier 3 - Very High Alert  Only travel if you need to such as for work or school. Click here for more information.

When you travel you can travel with confidence by wearing a face covering (unless exempt), washing your hands before and after your journey and by maintaining social distancing. Check the National Rail app for the latest updates to your journey and continue to follow the latest advice from government and public health officials

Travelling by train

What is your advice to passengers who are unwell and need to travel home?
If people have symptoms of Coronavirus, and need to travel home to self-isolate, they may do so but should try to keep away from other passengers and staff, and catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue.

I need assistance to complete my journey. Will this still be available? Even if I have symptoms of Coronavirus?
You should not be travelling if you have symptoms of Coronavirus, you should stay at home.

If you need assistance when travelling on National Rail services, staff will continue to provide help so that you can get to your home station safely. This is a challenging time for the country and our staff may be affected by Coronavirus, but we will do everything we can to help you complete your journey.

While it is not a requirement to book assistance ahead of time, we strongly recommend that you contact us to discuss your journey as soon as possible - See Assisted Travel page for details

I’ve just returned from holiday and have to quarantine for 14 days but I travelled by train to the airport, can I still get the train?
If you have returned from a country that is not exempt from quarantine you can travel by train to get to where you are going to self-isolate if necessary. Please wear a face covering (unless you are exempt), maintain social distance wherever possible and take the most direct route. More information is available on the website.

Should rail passengers and staff wear facemasks? 
Keeping our passengers and staff safe while they travel or work is a top priority. The latest advise from government for passengers is to keep a distance from others and to wear a face covering on public transport, if you can. Information on exemptions can be found below. 

More information on wearing a face covering at National Rail stations on on trains can be found at our dedicated Face Coverings page, and exemptions to the law can be found on our Face Covering Exemptions page. 

We are also taking all necessary precautions to protect our staff and in the limited circumstances where our people have to work within close proximity of each other, we are providing facemasks to reduce the risk of someone who has the virus from spreading it to others.

Rail industry preparations

If rail staff get sick will services be cancelled? 
Like everyone, our staff may be affected by Coronavirus and this will limit our ability to operate a full service.

We cannot guarantee there will be no cancellations, but we will protect the most important routes and services so that vital freight and commuter trains keep moving.

How can I find out if the train I want to travel on is still running?
You can search for your journey on the National Rail website (, via the National Rail app, or by registering for Alert Me by Messenger (requires Facebook Messenger). Alternatively, you can visit the website of the train operator you plan to travel with for more specific information about their increased timetables.

How are you helping to minimise the spread of the virus for those that have to travel?
Rail companies are doing more to ensure our trains and stations are clean. This includes a greater focus on cleaning 'high-touch' areas on trains and at stations (such as handrails, open/close door buttons and door handles), increasing the use of antiviral cleaning products, and ensuring toilets are well stocked with hand cleaning facilities such as soap or sanitizer.

How will rail replacement services be impacted by Coronavirus?
Coach and Bus operators supplying rail replacement vehicles are also working hard to ensure that all enhanced cleaning standards are met, including:

  • a greater focus on cleaning high-touch areas on vehicles; (such as handrails),
  • increasing the use of antiviral cleaning products
  • Where coaches have the facilities, ensuring toilets are well stocked with soap

If you require assistance when travelling, especially if there is a rail replacement service instead of a train, we recommend that you contact us to discuss your journey as soon as possible - See Assisted Travel page for details.

We are also ensuring our people are kept aware of the latest advice to maintain good hand hygiene and putting up advice posters at stations and on trains. We’re asking passengers to support our efforts to further delay the spread of Coronavirus, by following public health advice for everyone to wash their hands regularly and when they cough or sneeze, to ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’.


Latest Travel Advice

What This Means for Your Services

How Train Companies are Supporting Your Journey

How You Can Help


Train Operating Companies' Guidance

Alert Me by Messenger Face Coverings Face Covering Exemptions
Assisted Travel FAQs London Travel Advice Employers Advice

Last updated:   26 October 2020