Coronavirus Travel Information
During this difficult time, we’re committed to supporting key workers across the north of England, ensuring that if they do need to make that essential journey, it is as safe as it can possibly be.
We are currently operating a temporary timetable, in line with the rest of the rail industry, designed to keep key workers and those making essential journeys on the move. You can find full details of this timetable here.
The government’s advice is, if you have to travel to work because you cannot work from home, please avoid public transport - if possible, walk or cycle or go by car. For more information on public transport advice from the government click here.
Capacity on our trains is significantly limited as we have put measures in place to encourage social distancing – help us to keep the trains for those who really need them.
If your only option is to travel by train please:
- buy your ticket online or pay by contactless
- respect the 2m rule
- follow the instructions at stations and of staff
- wear a face covering, this is mandatory on all trains from Monday 15th June
- take your face covering and litter with you
- wash your hands before and after your journey
- avoid rush hour and travel at quieter periods where possible
- allow extra time for your journey
Buying tickets to travel
We have suspended the selling of tickets on board trains.
Customers will still require a ticket to travel and should buy before they board from stations, ticket machines, and online via the web (www.northernrailway.co.uk) or our mobile app.
Ticket Offices: Our ticket offices remain open so, if you’re starting your journey from a staffed station during opening hours, our helpful staff will be ready to sell you the ticket you need.
Ticket Vending Machines: Most of our stations now have Ticket Vending Machines which sell tickets to all locations in the UK.
We are not accepting cash payments until further notice and passengers should use contactless payment where possible. Those who wish to use cash for payment should use relevant ticket machines where available.
Conductors will also be available to help customers as needed.
If your travel plans change
We have made changes to our refunds/amendments policy. Please click here for more details.
What Northern is doing to protect customers
Until further notice all waiting rooms at Northern stations will be closed. This follows advice from government and is in-line with action taken by train operators across the country.
We have a robust plan in place for cleaning our trains. This includes the removal of litter throughout the day and ensuring all surfaces are cleaned on a regular basis.
On-board our trains and at stations, where facilities exist, there is soap and water available in our toilets for customers to follow NHS advice to wash their hands for 20 seconds.
If you come across a toilet with no soap, please alert a member of staff.
What you can do to protect yourself
The government is advising that everyone should avoid all non-essential public transport use and, where possible, should try to avoid rush hour services. People should also vary usual travel times to prevent crowding and, if possible, work from home.
If you are showing any Coronavirus symptoms, however mild, you should self-isolate along with other members of your household. The latest Public Health England advice is available here.
From 15 June 2020, it is the law that you must wear a face covering when travelling in England on a train. Please bring a suitable face covering if you intend to travel with Northern. Some people don’t have to wear a face covering including for health, age or equality reasons. Please remember, only travel if it’s necessary so we can keep trains clear for those who really need them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a face covering?
At its very simplest, a face covering is something that covers your mouth and your nose, that minimises your ability to touch your face. Surgical facemasks, scarfs, homemade masks or material wraps are all perfectly acceptable.
Remember that face coverings are additional measures to help you and those around you keep healthy, along with washing your hands and social distancing.
Take a look at the government’s advice on face coverings if you are unsure about what to wear.
Why are face coverings now compulsory on trains?
Alongside social distancing, wearing a face covering helps make travelling by public transport safer for everyone during the coronavirus pandemic as it reduces the risk of onward transmission. You are helping to protect others by wearing a covering.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has identified that using face coverings [when travelling by public transport] can provide some small additional protection to fellow passengers and can help people to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus if they are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.
What if I can’t wear a face covering for medical reasons or due to a disability?
You can still use public transport. We understand that not every disability is visible and will treat you with respect and offer the assistance you require.
If you need any additional support, please let a member of staff, on the platform or the train, know about your issue and they’ll make sure you’re able to travel safely.
How will this be enforced?
We expect our passengers will understand that these restrictions are in place for the safety of everyone.
If you aren't wearing a face covering on board a train, you will be may be reminded by staff and British Transport Police, about the current regulations. If a you refuse to wear a face covering, you could be issued with a fixed penalty notice and have to pay a fine. British Transport Police also have the authority to refuse travel if necessary.
What’s the legal basis for this?
These regulations are being brought in through the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984.
What should I do if I’m sitting in a carriage with someone who isn’t wearing a face covering?
There will be some staff and customers who will not be expected to wear a face covering due to health reasons.
We expect that the vast majority of our passengers will want to follow the new government guidelines to keep themselves and others safe. Regardless of whether someone is wearing a covering, you should keep a safe distance from others where possible on board our trains or at stations.
Some of our Northern colleagues may have reasons not to be wearing a face covering and some may choose to wear a badge explaining that they are an exception. Please respect our staff and your fellow passengers who may not be able to wear a face covering.
We are asking all our customers not to challenge fellow passengers who aren’t wearing a face covering. They may have a valid reason for not wearing one, including hidden conditions that mean they are an exception.
If I have any concerns linked to face coverings who should I talk to?
If you have any concerns, please speak to a member of our team who will be happy to help. Please bear in mind, some people may not have to wear a face covering due to a hidden disability.
If face coverings are compulsory, do train operators have to supply them, or at least have them for sale, before they board?
Please bring your own face covering. We are unable to supply face coverings to customers but have provided our staff with them, so please remember your own if you are travelling with us.
Some larger stations may have vending machines where you can buy a face covering, however it is very important that plan in advance and bring your own.
Do children need to wear face coverings?
Children under 11 are not required to wear face coverings.
I have a hearing impairment and I rely on lip reading to understand what someone is saying, how will I be able to travel comfortably and communicate with your team?
We understand how challenging face coverings can make communicating when you have a hearing impairment. To help to overcome any problems you may have, our team have been asked to ensure they have a pen and paper as an alternative way of communicating.
Who can I speak to if I have a question that hasn’t been covered here?
Our Customer Experience Centre will be happy to help with any queries you may have, they can be contacted on 0800 200 6060. You can review the list of people who don’t need to wear a face covering here.
What is Northern doing to maximise social distancing at stations?
We have put a number of measures in place at our stations to remind customers of the need to keep socially distanced. These measure include markers on the floor, posters, and audio messages. At stations where ticket offices remain open, we have additional social distancing measures in place, such as capacity restrictions and floor markers. At some stations, access to certain areas – such as waiting rooms – is restricted where we believe social distancing is not possible.
What is Northern doing to maximise social distancing on trains?
To help customers stay socially distanced while travelling on our trains we have marked some seats as ‘Out of Use’ (reducing the capacity of our trains) and laid tape to enable on-board staff to conduct their duties), we are using audio messages and have a series of notices displayed on our on-board digital screens.
What can Northern's customers do to make sure they social distance on trains?
We have a number of measures in place on our trains to help customers socially distance. But there are steps that can be taken by those travelling to help with this. Some of our trains have seats marked as out of service – where they are in place, these restrictions should be followed. Where they are not in place, customers should do their best to observe the following rules:
- Sit at a window seat
- Leave at least two rows vacant between you and other passengers
- Avoid facing other passengers
- Use alternate sides of the train
- Where possible, try to adhere to social distancing rules when getting on and off the train.
When is the best time to travel and are there any time to avoid?
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic we are operating amended timetables with significantly reduced capacity on our trains (a reduction of more than 85%). As a result, customers should allow extra time for journeys, avoid peak travel times if possible and buy tickets online, via the mobile app, or on smartcards. Customers should, where possible, avoid planning to travel on the last services of the day.
What happens if the train I want to travel on is already full?
Government advice is that public transport should only be used if no other options for travel are available. Customers who have to travel should do everything possible to maintain social distancing. If a train is already busy when it arrives at a station, and there is nowhere to sit safely, customers should wait for the next service. Northern understands this may be frustrating, however social distancing restrictions means we are currently running services with an 85% reduction in capacity.
Is hand sanitiser available at stations and on trains?
On-board our trains and at stations, where facilities exist, there is soap and water available in our toilets for customers to follow NHS advice to wash their hands for 20 seconds. Hand sanitiser will not be provided on stations or on trains – where possible customers should carry their own.
Are reservations are mandatory, advised or not required?
Seat reservations are not available on our services and are not required to travel.
Is Passenger Assist still provided, and is the service any different from normal?
Passenger Assist services are being provided as usual and the team can be contacted on 0800 138 5560 (Text Relay 18001 0800 138 5560).
What additional cleaning is being carried out?
We have a robust cleaning regime and employ more than 400 dedicated cleaning staff across the north of England who, at the moment, are supported by colleagues from elsewhere in the business.
Every carriage that has been in service is given a thorough clean at the end of the night before being sent out the next day. We also have staff at stations who clear litter from our trains, clean surfaces, all touchpoints and toilets throughout the day to help keep them in the best possible condition for passengers.
We will continue to do all we can and hope you will also continue to play your part when travelling on Northern services.