Coronavirus travel advice and latest updates
Update: 0930hrs, 1 March 2021
Latest travel advice
Cases of coronavirus in the community are currently high, so the latest Government advice is to stay at home and avoid all non-essential travel.
If you do need to travel, for example to go to work or medical appointments, our trains are running to an amended timetable to keep you moving.
We’ve stepped up our cleaning onboard and at stations, using the latest antiviral equipment and techniques. Watch our video to see how we have increased cleaning in stations and on our trains.
We recommend travelling at quieter times if you can and buying your tickets online in advance. You can check your train times here.
Video: Covid-19 update from West Midlands Trains MD Julian Edwards
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.
Make yours a contactless journey.
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. Use our 'How busy is my train?' tool to find the quieter trains.
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.
Video: How to buy tickets using our app
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. Further information on whether toilet facilities at stations are open and where you can find them, please visit National Rail’s stations page.
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.
Video: Enhanced cleaning on-board and at stations
We’re making changes to some of our timetables from Monday 8 March, following recent government announcements. The changes will reintroduce a limited train service on the Abbey Line between Watford Junction – St Albans Abbey, and larger rail replacement vehicles on the Marston Vale line between Bedford – Bletchley.
From Monday 8th March the below list of services will run as trains on weekdays. We’ll continue to supplement this line with rail replacement buses in the week and on weekends.
- Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey: 05:54, 06:38, 07:21, 08:04, 09:39, 15:46, 16:33, 17:24, 18:11, 19:39 , 20:33, 21:33
- St Albans Abbey – Watford Junction: 06:10, 06:58, 07:42, 08:25, 10:00, 16:07, 16:54, 17:45, 18:32, 20:00, 20:54, 21:54
We’re working hard to restore train services on the Marston vale line as quickly as possible. In the meantime, we will provide larger rail replacement vehicles on key services to ensure there is room for social distancing.
Off-Peak, Anytime or Season Tickets
- If you have an Off-Peak or Anytime/Anytime Advance ticket and you apply for a refund on an unused ticket, an admin fee of £10 may apply.
- Unexpired Season Tickets can be refunded at any time and train companies calculate how much is refunded by how much value is left on your ticket. They do this by deducting the value of any other tickets you could have travelled with in the same time until you stopped using your Season Ticket. This refund can be backdated with evidence that illness prevented you from travelling. (National Rail Conditions of Travel, 40.4).
- To see how much you could get back from your Season Ticket, you can use the handy calculation tool here to work out the value of your refund. (Please note, this is designed for National Rail Season Ticket calculations - West Midlands Local Authority Season Tickets (such as nTrain or nNetwork) have their own independent calculation method)
- Customers can apply for ticket refunds up to 4 weeks from the last day that the ticket was valid.
- In areas where there is disruption, we and other operators will agree cross-ticket acceptance on a case by case basis.
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.
Student Season Tickets
To request a refund on a student season ticket, please email details to [email protected]. Refunds will be made on a pro rata basis and a £10 admin fee will apply.
Advance Single Tickets
As of Tuesday 5th January 2021, in line with latest Government announcement on lockdown restrictions, Advance Single tickets purchased before 5th January 2021 for travel to or from any station may be amended by either of the below methods:
- Fee-free change of journey - Customers will not be required to pay an admin fee to excess their Advance Single ticket to travel on another day. There is no limit on the number of times a ticket can be excessed.
- Exchange for an eVoucher or Rail Travel Voucher for use towards a new ticket - non-cashable Rail Travel Vouchers (RTVs) or eVouchers are available for passengers who purchased an Advance Single ticket to or from an area affected by local restrictions. These vouchers are valid for 12 months from the date of issue.
Advance Single tickets purchased on or after 5th January 2021 are not eligible for this relaxation of the change of journey fee, or for customers to surrender their Advance Single ticket for vouchers. Advance tickets purchased on or after 05 January 2021 may still be excessed to travel on another day, but normal fees and excess rules will still apply.
Additional Guidance for University Students: 2nd January 2021 to 7th February 2021
Any student with Advance Single tickets, valid for travel between 2nd January and 7th February 2021 and purchased on or after 2nd December 2020 and before the announcement of the staggered return to in-person studying (Thursday 31st December 2020) are permitted to change their journey in one of the following ways:
- Fee-free change of journey (original origin and destination must be kept, but customers permitted to changed date and time of travel. Customers will still be required to pay any fare difference)
- Where possible, Advance ticket surrendered for eVoucher or Rail Travel Voucher for use towards a new ticket.
Changes to existing Advance Single tickets must be made before the departure of the first booked journey, unless otherwise extended by the original retailer. Any changes made to Advance Single tickets after that time may be subject to normal Terms & Conditions of the ticket type regarding changes.
Where to change your ticket or apply for a refund or a voucher
|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)||
If you are unable to use Advance Single tickets due to local restrictions:
|Our website (lnr.uk or wmr.uk), our app or from our phone team||
Phone our call centre on 0333 311 0006
If you are unable to cancel in this way, email:
If you are unable to use Advance Single tickets due to local restrictions:
|An alternative retailer||
Contact them directly
If you need assistance to make your journey, we ask that you book this in advance where possible. This will help us put the necessary arrangements in place before you arrive and avoid any delay to your journey. You can book assistance up to 10pm the day before travel, or if you are only travelling on our services, you can book with us up to 12 hours ahead for journeys on the same day.
Our team will clean all surfaces they come into contact with regularly and minimise physical contact where possible. This may mean keeping you at arms-length, working as quickly as we can, and positioning wheelchair and scooter users 2 meters away while we set up the ramp. We will also try and keep to 1 person in a lift wherever possible. This may mean we will assist you at the top and bottom of the lift only.
Don’t forget you can always simply ‘turn up and go’ without booking, and we will do our best to help you on the day.
Video: Assistance for the visually impaired
Video: Assistance for wheelchair users
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. 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.
If our reduced timetables make travel impossible for you, please contact us at: [email protected].
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 www.gov.uk/coronavirus for guidance.
Only use public transport if you have no other option. If you do use public transport, please wear a face covering and stay 2 metres apart from other people unless you are exempt.
For more information, please follow the government guidance on how to self-isolate after returning from abroad.
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.
Wherever possible please time your journey to avoid the busiest times. Our 'How busy is my train?' tool can help you plan your journey.
If the train you intended to catch is full we recommend you wait for the next service. If that is not possible, please make sure you wear a face covering, unless exempt, and maximise your social distance.
We recommend avoiding the last service of the day is you can. In the unlikely event the last service is too busy to board, please use the station Help Point to contact us to discuss alternative arrangements.
We encourage passengers to avoid relying on the last train and to use our 'How busy is my train?' tool to check in advance which services may be busy and plan accordingly. If your last train is cancelled or you are unable to board because it is too full we will seek to provide replacement transport to get you to your destination station. Please contact a member of station staff or use the customer information contact facilities to seek assistance.
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.
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.
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. For further information on whether waiting rooms at our stations are open, please use our Station Finder tool.
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.
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.