coronavirus travel advice do not travel unless it is essential

Page last updated Wednesday 25 March 2020, 09:35

The health and wellbeing of our passengers and staff is always our top priority. We know passengers may have concerns, and rail companies are working closely with government to take the steps needed to keep our vital services moving while keeping customers safe.

Please visit the NHS website for the latest Coronavirus guidance. 

 

Travel advice

We are asking passengers to follow the latest advice from government and public health officials.
The government has advised people against non-essential travel. If your journey is essential and you need to go by train, please check before you set out. You should also follow public health advice: if you need to cough or sneeze please ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’.

If you or the people you live with have symptoms of COVID-19  (Coronavirus), you should stay at home. Protect yourself. Protect others. Protect the NHS.

What this means for your services / Reduced timetable

We are entering the second phase of our three-stage plan to manage services in response to the Coronavirus outbreak and ensure that vital train services for key workers can keep running throughout a prolonged period of lower staff numbers and customer journeys.

Working together with government, we are moving to a reduced timetable from Monday 23 March which will see around half the usual number of trains running compared to a normal weekday. Early morning and late evening services are being protected wherever possible to support those doing shift work.

As part of the first phase of our plan, we have been:

  • Sharing advice and information about how to stay healthy - there are public health posters and other information around stations and on trains.
  • Doing more to ensure our trains and stations are clean. The kinds of steps being taken include a greater focus on cleaning high-touch areas in trains and at stations, such as handrails and ticket machine touch screens, increasing the use of anti-viral cleaning products and ensuring toilets are well stocked with soap and water. Trains are also being checked regularly throughout the day in addition to the cleaning which takes place in depots.
  • Recognising that people’s travel plans may have changed since booking a ticket, so all train companies are suspending the £10 admin fee on refundable train tickets they have sold. If you have an Off-peak or Anytime ticket and decide not to travel due to concerns about Coronavirus, you can get a fee-free 100% refund. If you have a discounted Advance ticket, all train companies have agreed to waive the £10 admin fee so you can travel at a later date, if you choose. To do this, contact the retailer you booked with. Further information on ticket refunds can be found in the Q&A below.
  • Where possible and appropriate, protecting frontline staff by reducing contact at ticket barriers, reducing the need for people to handle tickets and cash and removing on-board catering.

How you can help

To reduce the transmission of Coronavirus, that people should avoid non-essential use of public transport. When at our stations or travelling by train, we’re encouraging everyone to follow the latest expert advice:

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the bin.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Avoid travelling if you feel unwell and have symptoms of Coronavirus – a new, continuous cough or a high temperature.

For people making essential journeys, we ask that you check before you travel as some train times will change from Monday 23 March. We also encourage you to purchase your ticket online if you can, to support the government’s social distancing advice.

Common questions

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. 

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 they should try to keep away from other people and catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue.

I need assistance to complete my journey. Will this still be available?
The government has advised people against non-essential travel. If your journey is essential and you need assistance to go by train, 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 which would limit our ability to operate a full service and we will do everything we can to help you complete your journey.

While it is not a requirement to book ahead, we strongly recommend that you contact us to discuss your journey as soon as possible. We will also be contacting customers with existing bookings to discuss how we can help with their journey.

Should rail passengers and staff wear facemasks?
The latest advice from Public Health England is that facemasks have limited value in preventing infection.

Refunds

I bought a ticket for an upcoming journey that is not essential. Can I get a refund? 
Yes. As well as the fee free refunds on 
Anytime and Off-Peak tickets, train companies are now offering customers free refunds on Advance tickets for future journeys bought before 0700 on Monday 23 March 2020. 

For refunds on Advance tickets, please apply for the refund before the departure of the first booked train. 

For more details, contact the retailer that sold your original ticket. 

I have an Advance ticket for a train that has been cancelled as part of the new reduced timetable. Can I get a refund?
Yes, if the train you intended to use is cancelled due to the new timetable, you will be able to get a full refund with no admin fees. You should contact the train operator or the retailer that sold your ticket for a refund.

I have bought a Season Ticket but will now be working from home. Can I get a refund?
Season Tickets can be refunded depending on how long is left on them. 
Customers should get in touch with the train company or retailer they bought their ticket from to see what they might be entitled to. 

For more information, see the Season Ticket Conditions page.

Rail industry preparations

What preparations are rail companies making to keep services running during a widespread outbreak of Coronavirus? 
From Monday 23 March, we are moving to a reduced timetable to ensure that vital train services can keep running throughout a prolonged coronavirus outbreak. This will ensure that key workers like nurses, police officers and firefighters can get to work. It will see approximately half the usual number of trains running compared to a normal weekday.

This is part of a three-stage plan to manage services during an unprecedented period, which has so far focussed on targeted, local variations in service, as railway workers have increasingly been affected by Coronavirus. The national move to a reduced timetable marks the second phase in the industry’s response to the virus. 

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. Our move to a reduced timetable balances current significantly reduced levels of demand with the need to reduce the number of people required to run the network, which will help to ensure there are enough staff to keep services running over the coming weeks and months.  

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 (
https://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk) or app. Alternatively, go to the website of the train operator you plan to travel with for more information about their new timetables.

How are you helping to minimise the spread of the virus for those that have to travel?
Rail companies are also doing more to ensure our trains and stations are clean. The kinds of steps being taken include a greater focus on cleaning high-touch areas in trains and at stations, increasing the use of anti-viral cleaning products and ensuring toilets are well stocked with soap and water.

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

Train operating companies’ guidance
Use the links below to find out what train operating companies are doing.

 

        

            c2c

Caledonian Sleeper

 

Chiltern Railways

 CrossCountry              Gatwick Express Grand Central
    Great Northern       GWR Great Western Railway

 

     Greater Anglia

       Heathrow Express
 Hull Trains      LNER London North Eastern Railway     London Northwestern Railway

     London Overground

    

Merseyrail Northern ScotRail

Southeastern

 

Southern

 

SWR South Western Railway

 

Stansted Express

     TfL Rail

 

Thameslink

TransPennine Express

Transport for Wales Trafnidiaeth Cymru

West Midlands Railway

Last updated:   25 March 2020