Common questions Page last updated Monday 17 May 2021 at 02:01


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.


How will I be able to find out if my train is affected?
Please check your journey before you travel using the journey planner here or find live station departure/arrival information here. Rail companies will be promoting changes to timetables on trains, at stations and via their social media channels.



Can I travel by train?
Yes, the government has announced from 17th May when travelling in the UK you should aim to do so safely and plan your journey in advance.

Rail companies have added more than 2,500 daily services to the timetable since 16th May, which has brought the total number of daily weekday services to over 20,500. As more passengers return social distancing may not always be possible so rail companies are providing better information to help people avoid busier trains. If you are travelling by train please travel at quieter times and book in advance where possible.

I haven't been able to use a Rail Travel Voucher during the national lockdown. What can I do?
Rail passengers with unused Rail Travel Vouchers have been given extra time to redeem them to ensure they are not left out of pocket from COVID-19 related restrictions. Rail Travel Vouchers which have expired or are due to expire between 20 October 2020 and 30 June 2021 will get an additional 6 months after their original expiry date to redeem them.

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.


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 You Can Help


Train Operating Companies' Guidance

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

Last updated:   14 May 2021