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Train companies publish 'safer travel pledge'

Ahead of major timetable uplift, rail companies release the 8 ways they are ensuring people can travel safely… and how passengers can help

With pubs, cinemas and more shops opening next week, Britain’s train companies are preparing for more people to start returning to the railways by publishing their pledge to maximise space, boost cleaning, help with hygiene and improve information to ensure passengers can travel safely.

It comes as the rail industry continues to urge people to use public transport only if necessary to ensure there is enough space for those who need to use it. To help, as more businesses reopen, train operators will be adding more services from Sunday 5 July. This reflects the forthcoming relaxation of lockdown measures by the Government and will help employees across newly opened up sectors get back to work.

People wearing face coverings at Manchester Piccadilly station

The Safer Travel Pledge, which will be displayed in railway stations around the country, will help people who work in pubs, cafes, hairdressers and the wider hospitality industry to have confidence in their journey as they return to work for the first time in over three months.

Under the new Safer Travel Pledge, extra services are being introduced by the rail industry where possible to meet increased demand and timetables will be designed to prioritise more trains at peak times and busier stations to prevent overcrowding.

Sanitiser used on board an Avanti West Coast train

Here are the eight things rail companies are doing to help combat the spread of COVID-19. And the four ways passengers can help.

Train companies…

  1. More trains and extra carriages in timetables – to make extra room and help with social distancing
  2. New social distancing signs – so people know where to go, stay 2 metres apart where possible and avoid pinch points
  3. Powerful fog cleaning on trains – with trains and stations cleaned more frequently through the day
  4. Soap restocked more often in stations and on trains – so it’s easier to keep your hands virus-free
  5. Vending machines for face coverings and hand sanitiser – at over 150 stations making it easier for passengers to buy what they need
  6. Hand sanitiser points in over 300 stations – helping protect people from the virus
  7. New service on Messenger app alerting people to busy trains – look up National Rail on Messenger to get started
  8. Up to 2,500 extra staff available at key locations – to help passengers on their way


  1. Travel off-peak – keep distance wherever possible and avoid the busiest times
  2. Wash your hands – carry hand sanitiser and wash hands before and after your journey
  3. Bring a face covering – wear it throughout your journey, but remember that hidden disabilities and medical conditions mean not everyone can
  4. Check before you travel – visit before setting off and sign up for alerts on the Messenger app

Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions at the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said:

With pubs, restaurants and other businesses reopening next week, more people will be taking the train. While we are still asking people only to take the train if necessary, as the lockdown is eased further we are stepping up timetables and taking other steps so people can travel with confidence. In return, we want people to help us by avoiding the busiest times, wearing a face covering and checking the latest train information online before setting off.

Contact Information

Notes to editors

Downloadable images from operators and Network Rail, below, show what is being done to keep people safe as part of this pledge. A high quality version of the safer travel pledge poster which will be displayed in stations across the country is available on request.

Below are examples of what rail companies are doing as part of the pledge:

Our safer travel pledge

We are taking extra steps to make your journey safer.


MAXIMISING SPACE - Running more trains and carriages to make extra room. 

  • Running more services to help meet increased demand 
  • Designing our timetables to maximise services at the busiest stations and times of day and to reduce delays  
  • Adding extra carriages for you where possible to make longer trains, helping with social distancing  
  • Putting floor markings and signage on our trains and at our stations to help you get around safely 

BOOSTING CLEANING – Cleaning trains and stations more regularly 

  • Cleaning our trains and stations - 14,000 carriages and 2,500 stations - more frequently and more thoroughly throughout the day, focussing on the areas you are most likely to touch 
  • Using powerful anti-viral cleaning products to give added protection  

HELPING WITH HYGIENE – Making it easier for you to keep your hands clean 

  • Replenishing soap supplies in our stations and trains more frequently  
  • Installing hand sanitiser points in over 300 stations and vending machines in over 150 stations selling face coverings and sanitiser
  • Encouraging those who can, to use a face covering with giveaways totalling almost a million  

IMPROVING INFORMATION – With people and technology to help you at every stage

  • Launching a new service that alerts you to crowding and disruption on your journey before you travel – sign up at
  • Increasing the availability of tickets on smart phones and Smartcards so you can download at home and move swiftly through stations without the need to touch gates or ticket machines  
  • Making it easier for people using our Passenger Assist service to book the help they need by taking requests up until 10pm the day before travel and continuing to help those who can't book ahead
  • Having up to 2,500 extra people available as necessary at key locations to answer your questions or concerns so you can get on your way  

To help us keep you safe, YOU CAN... 

  • Travel off-peak - Keep your distance wherever possible and travel at quieter times and
  • Wash your hands – Carry hand sanitiser and wash your hands before and after your journey
  • Bring a face covering – Make sure you wear a face covering through your journey unless you are exempt  
  • Check before you travel – Plan ahead by visiting before setting off and sign up for alerts on the Messenger app