Travel Update

Update: 1045hrs, 11 August 2020

Helping you to travel safely this summer

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic we’ve been playing our part in the national effort by keeping your train service running.

With more people returning to workplaces, schools and shops, we’re now running even more trains to help you travel with confidence.

Remember, when travelling with us you should maintain social distancing whenever possible. By law you must wear a face covering at all times - some exemptions apply.

To help you travel safely we’re running as many trains as we can with as many carriages as possible to maximise space on board. We’ve also stepped up cleaning on board and at stations, using the latest antiviral equipment and techniques.

If possible, make your journey at quieter times and buy your tickets online in advance. You should also allow some extra time as station layouts may have changed. You can check your train times here.

The information below will help you plan your journey and know what to expect.

Make yours a contactless journey.

Train times and frequency have changed. Online journey planners are showing the right times, you can also download a timetable here, or read the summary.

Travel at quieter times. If you can change your routine, travel between 10am-3pm or after 6pm on weekdays, chances are there'll be more space on board and your ticket will be cheaper too, making it more comfortable for you and for those people that need to travel at busiest times.

Don't stand in line, buy online and with a barcode ticket you don't have to pick up or handle a paper ticket, you do need a ticket before you board the train.

Face coverings are compulsory on public transport. Please wear yours in stations and on our trains. However, we do recognise this isn’t possible for some passengers, please check here.

Season ticket customers will soon be able to go contactless. Sign up for your card now, and it will arrive in the post within 2 weeks.

Pay by phone for your car park. Avoid waiting in line, get your ticket from the comfort of your car - available online, in-app and pay by mobile. Set up an account before you leave home. At some stations car park spaces might be blocked off to help with queuing.

Book passenger assistance before you travel please – it will really help us plan and make sure you’re not hanging around. Our team (if appropriate) will try to keep at arms-length and will spend the shortest time with you. Customers using a wheelchair – please face forward – don’t be alarmed if our team wipe the handles, it’s all part of the service (we’re regularly cleaning our own wheelchairs too) we’ll also position you 2m away whilst we set up a ramp to the train. If we need to use the lift, we might dash to the stairs and meet you at the top or bottom, as we’re trying to keep to one person at a time – it won’t always be possible. And, if you have a visual impairment – rest assured we will still provide this and position ourselves carefully . Our Passenger Assistance call centre will ask extra questions, so allow a little more time to make your booking. Book assistance here.

Video: How to buy tickets using our app

Video: Assistance for wheelchair users

Video: Assistance for the visually impaired

It may take longer to get through the station.

Drop off and pick up points. We want to avoid lots of people gathering in the station, it would be really helpful if you stayed in your car when your picking up and dropping off your loved ones.

Give yourself a bit more time to get through the station. At some stations we are introducing separate entrance and exit, along with one-way and queuing systems (inside & outside) - very similar to supermarket queuing systems. And to help our staff social distance, some ticket windows may be closed.

Hand sanitiser is available at our busiest stations, but it's helpful if you can bring your own.

Availability of ticket windows and ticket machines (in multi-site locations) may be reduced, to help with social distancing for you and our teams. Rest assured all ticket offices remain open. Queues may be longer - that's why we really do recommend buying online before you arrive. Where ticket machines are side by side, we're rolling out divider screens to keep as many open as possible. Also, retailers on our stations haven't yet opened.

Chatting to us at the station. Like you, we need to keep to the social distancing guidelines, so please be mindful of this when you're talking to us - we're not being rude if we take a step back.

Tapping in and out through the barriers. Our ticket barriers remain working as normal, this helps us understand the number of people travelling, you may see more dividing barriers or our staff behind screens to help with social distancing guidelines.

Please keep your distance, extra notices will help you. In confined spaces like lifts - one at a time please, on escalators and stairs, try to keep 4 steps between you. You might find some one-way systems in place - please stay in your lane.

Natural areas of congregation. We'll rely on you to self-regulate, but we'll take measures to help you. We'll try to reopen waiting rooms and toilets where we can so you can keep your distance and wash your hands in line with government advice, but they won't hold as many people. Where possible we'll keep the entrance doors open so it'll be one less thing to touch. We'll continue to focus our cleaning on things you touch most like buttons, door handles and bannisters.

Washrooms are open. Toilet facilities remain open (unless cleaning is in progress) - you may find locations with multiple facilities might just have one of those sites open.

Platform etiquette. We'll be running the longest trains possible on each service. Customer information screens will let you know how many carriages there are, so that you can spread out as much as possible. Stay on the platform until people get off the train to give everyone space. Please try and keep the vestibule free.

Video: Getting through our stations

Taking extra care on board our trains.

If the train is full. With social distancing in place our carriages now carry fewer passengers, so please make sensible choices when travelling. If the train is too full, consider if your journey is truly necessary.

No reservations on our trains. Some long distance train companies are using their reservations system to manage the number of people they can carry. This is not a service we have available.

We’ll rely on you to follow the guidelines - wear a face covering, carry hand sanitiser, wash your hands before and after you travel, sit by a window and look for seats away from others, avoid gathering by the door, and take your rubbish with you.

Try to keep one seat next to you free on board. Remember, to apply social distancing on a train, the carriage will be full with 15-20 people. This number will vary slightly by train type and those with toilets and first class in the carriage. Please consider whether your travel is necessary.

You'll see more cleaning during your journey. We've increased our on-train cleaning team - they'll be paying particular attention to surfaces people touch the most.

We're still here for you. A Senior Conductor will be available on every train, they'll make announcements to let you know where they are if you need to talk to them. Please remember you must get your ticket before you board. If things have changed at other operator's stations we'll try and let you know that too.

Wash your hands on board. All our trains have toilets; we’re making sure they get emptied more often so they can remain open all day long, and we’re paying extra attention to keeping them topped up with soap and water.

What happens if I see a crime or anti-social behaviour? Text 61016 and British Transport Police will pick up your message 24/7, and take action where they can, or for emergencies call 999.

Bikes on board. Full sized bikes can now be carried on board during peak times to enable you to use your bike at your end destination. There is still limited space and so it remains at the Senior Conductors discretion. We are keeping this amendment under review and it only applies while we have the space due to fewer people travelling. Read the temporary policy here.

All timetables are available to download here. Below is a summary of our new timetable plan.

Mondays - Saturdays

  • Milton Keynes, Watford Junction, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted – 4 trains per hour
  • Bletchley, Leighton Buzzard, Tring – 3 trains per hour
  • Rugby, Wolverton, Northampton, Harrow & Wealdstone, Apsley, Leighton Buzzard, Bletchley, Kings Langley – 2 trains per hour
  • Cheddington, Long Buckby – hourly
  • Via West Midlands: Coventry, Birmingham International, Birmingham New St - hourly
  • Crewe via Lichfield Trent Valley – hourly

Extra weekday AM London arrivals will run between Northampton / Watford Junction – Harrow & Wealdstone – Bushey.

Avanti West Coast will also be providing the following services from London Euston:

  • Preston via Milton Keynes – Coventry – Birmingham International – Birmingham New St – Sandwell & Dudley – Wolverhampton – Crewe – hourly
  • Manchester via Stoke-on-Trent / Crewe – 3 trains per hour
  • Birmingham New St via Rugby – Coventry – Birmingham International – 2 trains per hour
  • Liverpool Lime St via Stafford – Crewe – Runcorn – hourly
  • Glasgow via Crewe – hourly


  • Milton Keynes – 3 trains per hour
  • Harrow & Wealdstone, Watford Junction, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Tring, Leighton Buzzard, Bletchley, Wolverton, Northampton, Long Buckby, Rugby – 2 trains per hour
  • Bushey, Kings Langley, Apsley, Cheddington – hourly
  • Crewe via Lichfield Trent Valley – hourly

Mondays - Saturdays

  • Northampton – Birmingham International (all stations) – Marston Green – Birmingham New Street - hourly
  • Birmingham International – Birmingham New St (all stations) – Tame Bridge Parkway – Walsall – Rugeley Trent Valley (all stations) – hourly

Avanti West Coast will run 3 trains per hour between Birmingham New St – Birmingham International – Coventry.

Cross Country will run hourly trains between Birmingham New St – Birmingham International – Coventry.

Transport for Wales will run hourly trains between Birmingham New St - Birmingham International.


  • Northampton, Long Buckby, Rugby, Coventry, Tile Hill, Birmingham International, Marston Green - 2 trains per hour
  • Canley, Berkswell, Hampton-in-Arden, Lea Hall, Stechford, Adderley Park - hourly

Mondays - Sundays

  • Birmingham New St – Liverpool via Penkridge / Stafford / Crewe – hourly
  • Crewe – Birmingham New St via Stafford – hourly
  • Crewe – Stafford via Stoke-on-Trent (all stations) – hourly (Sundays only)

Cross Country will run hourly trains between Birmingham New St – Wolverhampton – Stoke-on-Trent.

East Midlands Railway will run hourly trains between Crewe – Alsager – Kidsgrove - Stoke-on-Trent.

Mondays - Sundays

The Marston Vale and Abbey Lines will be served by rail replacement road transport.

  • Marston Vale: Bedford – Bletchley – hourly (excludes Sundays as per usual)
  • The Abbey: St Albans Abbey – Watford Junction – hourly
  • If you have any feedback on the services for the Marston Vale and Abbey Lines please complete our online form
  • We are continuing to work on re-instating a train service on the Marston Vale and Abbey Lines as a priority

If you choose not to travel

If you bought your ticket from us, we're happy to temporarily waive the £10 admin fee when applying for a refund on single and return tickets, for journeys between 17th March - 31st May 2020 for walk-up tickets (such as single or return tickets) and between 23rd March - 31st May 2020 for advance tickets.

Additionally, all Advance fares purchased before 7am on Monday 23 March for travel on or after 23 March can be refunded with no admin fee.

Season tickets may be eligible for a refund if there is:

  • Seven days (or more) left on a Season ticket valid between one and ten months
  • Three days (or more) left on a weekly Season ticket
  • For an annual Season Ticket, there may not be any monetary value left if it is surrendered in the last couple of months of validity. Annual Season tickets have no refund value after 10 months and 13 days, although they are still valid for travel until the expiry date and you can continue to enjoy any Gold Card benefits along with it.
  • Car Park & PlusBus Season Tickets are refundable, under the same conditions as rail travel Season Tickets. If you require a refund on your car park season ticket please go to the Saba website.
  • Refunds can be backdated longer than 56 days if you provide evidence of a certified illness that prevented you handing in your ticket sooner.

From Wednesday 26 August onwards, normal rules will apply once again for ticket refunds.

Original refund Conditions will apply to customers requesting refunds to Season Tickets. In order to refund any unused value on a Season Ticket, it must have;

  • 3 or more days of validity on a 7-Day Season Ticket
  • 1 week or more of validity on a monthly or period (Inc. Annual)
  • Season Ticket Refunds cannot be accepted on expired Season Tickets, nor be backdated, unless the customer was ill and can provide a medical note as evidence. These reversals apply to PlusBus and Car Park season tickets also.

The admin fee of up to £10 will be applied to refunds for Anytime or Off-Peak/Super Off-Peak tickets. Advance tickets are non-refundable. Refunds on unused Anytime, Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak tickets, purchased on or after Wednesday 26 August, can only be applied for up to a maximum of 28 days after expiry.

For more information please click here.

We currently estimate the completion of applications 28 days after submission, please be aware this may take longer if we need to contact you for further information regarding your application.

Where to change your ticket or apply for a refund

In line with government advice to stay at home and for the safety of our staff, please apply online using one of the methods listed below. Please DO NOT go to the ticket office for your refund.

If you bought your ticket via... Apply for a refund in this way.
London Northwestern Railway or West Midlands Railway ticket offices (booking window or self-serve ticket machine)
Our website ( or, our app or from our phone team

Log into your online account

  • Access your bookings under 'My Account' and follow the instructions

If you are unable to cancel in this way, email::

Please note our call centre is not currently available

An alternative retailer

Contact them directly

Railcards & National Rail Travel Vouchers

If you have a Rail Travel Voucher which expires between 17th March and 16th September 2020 it can be extended by 6 months. You don't need to do anything right now, hold on to your voucher to use at a later date.

All train companies are working together to understand if it is possible to extend expired railcards. More information will be available soon.

Following the latest government update on COVID-19, we would like to reassure our passengers that we are committed to playing our part in keeping them safe and well, and to getting them to their destinations on time.

We also urge passengers to help out by keeping up to date with the latest official health advice. For health information and for answers to frequently asked questions on travelling by rail during this challenging period please click here to visit National Rail's coronavirus page.

Coronavirus has had a big impact on staff availability as more rail workers go in to self-isolation.

Some routes will have a reduced train service or a bus replacement service. This is to ensure Network Rail and ourselves are focusing resources where they are needed most, particularly on trunk routes carrying both freight and key worker traffic.

If you are travelling with us and have feedback on the services available please contact us. Please also get in touch if our reduced timetables make travel impossible for you.

Simply fill out our online form giving details of your journey, your place of work and your working hours. This will help us to understand whether an alternative solution can be found.

Your safety is our priority which is why we are running as many trains as we can with as many carriages as possible. We have also stepped up our cleaning regime using the latest antiviral equipment and techniques. You should practice social distancing whenever possible on your journey. Face coverings are now mandatory on board, helping all our passengers follow the latest social distancing advice.

No. If you have cold or flu-like symptoms you should be self-isolating for 14 days according to the latest government and NHS guidelines. You should follow NHS guidance to reduce the risk of catching coronavirus or spreading it to others. See for guidance.

Yes. In June 2020 the government announced it is mandatory for all passengers to use a face covering when on the train. If you do not wear a face covering on board, you may be refused travel.

You can make a face covering – follow the government guidelines here.

No. Children aged under 11 and people with breathing difficulties do not need to wear a face covering. We are asking our staff to be considerate when using their discretion and would consider that customers living with conditions such as PTSD, asthma etc. will not be expected to wear a face covering. We are asking customers with a disability or illness who can wear a mask to please do so.

Not necessarily. Some larger stations will have vending machines installed where face coverings can be purchased but most smaller stations will not have facilities to purchase them. Face coverings can be made inexpensively at home – click here for more information.

Rail staff engage and educate customers about the mandatory use of face coverings when they travel by train and encourage people to wear them. The vast majority of people do the right thing and help protect others by bringing and wearing a face covering while in stations and on trains. Unless they are exempt, those that don’t wear a face covering could be fined £100 by the police.
Some people may not be able to wear a face covering due to medical conditions which may not always be apparent. For a list of exemptions click here. Please do not confront other passengers. Anybody who isn’t exempt from wearing a face covering but does not wear one could be fined £100 by the police.

We are running as many trains as we can with as many carriages as possible. We are urging our passengers to travel at quieter times if they can. It is a passenger’s individual choice whether to board any particular service or to choose to wait for another train.

At some of our larger stations and those operated by Network Rail or other train companies, there may be one-way systems in place to help enable social distancing. One-way routes will be clearly signposted.

We are taking a number of steps to support social distancing, including putting in place one-way systems in stations, introducing queuing systems where necessary and putting up signs and floor markings. The latest government advice says that whilst 1 metre distance is acceptable with a face covering, 2 metres is best.

We have relaxed our refunds policy. For more details open the ‘Refunds and Changing Tickets’ tab above.

We are running as many trains as we can with as many carriages as possible and urging our passengers to travel at quieter times. Face coverings are now mandatory on board, helping all our passengers follow the latest social distancing advice. We are monitoring train performance carefully, listening to feedback and will adjust our timetables where appropriate.

In common with the rest of the rail industry, we significantly reduced our timetable between March 23 and May 17 to protect our customers and colleagues and run services for key workers on core routes. As rail industry staffing levels improve we are able to bring back more trains .

Open the “Timetable changes from 18th May” tab above.

The timetable is in place until further notice. It is being kept under review in accordance with the latest government advice on the use of public transport. Any changes will be communicated on this website and on social media.​

Yes. We have stepped up our cleaning regime on board our trains and at our stations, focusing on high-touch areas such as handrails and flat surfaces.

There are many reasons why a train may be delayed or cancelled on a given occasion. Rail workers are also not immune from the effects of coronavirus, so short-notice cancellations due to sickness are a possibility.

Owing to the developing coronavirus situation and to protect our staff, our telephone team offices are currently closed meaning you will be unable to speak to our advisors over the phone. On a daily basis, we will be collating frequently asked questions from our social media channels and providing answers to topics such as our reduced timetable and what we are doing to keep you safe.

If your query is specifically relating to refunds, you can now apply online for a refund, even if your ticket was purchased at the ticket office. Please open the ‘How to get a refund or change a ticket’ tab for more information.​​

Only as a last resort where there are no other means to pay. The first choice will always to be to pay online, by mobile phone, card or contactless payment, to minimise risk to staff and customers.​

It's important to remember that, in effect, season tickets offer 'free travel' based on the alternative of buying other tickets. In the case of weekly season tickets, it's roughly three days free travel, for monthly seasons it's roughly a week of free travel and for annuals it's roughly two months free travel. So, the amount you could get back would depend on these specific circumstances.

If you request a refund, whether you have a weekly, monthly or annual ticket, London Northwestern Railway will calculate the cheapest way you could otherwise have bought the travel which you have already used. In some cases this may mean that you will receive less than what you may have been expecting and sometimes there is little or no value left on a ticket that has been used for several months.

As a precautionary step to combat the spread of coronavirus, waiting rooms at some stations may be kept closed. We are keeping this under review in accordance with the latest government guidance.

Live help with your journey is available via our ticket machine from 7am - 7pm. Just press the VITA Help Point button on the left side of the screen to speak to our advisors who can help with ticket queries or onward journey information. The facility is available from any operational London Northwestern Railway ticket machine (except Wolverhampton, where it will be available once the new station building opens.) Outside these times live departure information is available here.

The pass is valid for travel after 9.30am on weekdays and all day at weekends in accordance with the standard terms and conditions. Pass holders were temporarily allowed to travel before 9.30am on weekdays during the strict lockdown period in order to help vulnerable people access dedicated shopping times. Following the easing of lockdown restrictions and with train capacity reduced due to social distancing, the standard terms and conditions were reinstated on Monday 8 June.

If you require a refund on your car park season ticket please go to the Saba website.

Full sized bikes can now be carried on board during peak times to enable you to use your bike at your end destination. There is still limited space and so it remains at the Senior Conductors discretion. We are keeping this amendment under review and it only applies while we have the space due to fewer people travelling.