Train operator GWR has issued guidance for those looking to travel this festive holiday period and warned that services immediately before and after the Christmas bubble period are set to be in demand.
GWR continues to operate over 90% of its pre-Covid train timetable, but to allow for train travellers to be able to socially distance with ease, the operator is asking those intending to do so to plan ahead.
To help make sure everyone can travel safely, you must reserve a space before travelling on many GWR trains. This helps limit the number of people on these trains so it’s easier to socially distance. For reservable trains, you will automatically be allocated a space if one is available or you will be asked to try another service if not. Don’t worry, there’s always space on board for those with walk-up tickets, such as season tickets, or those who may have been disrupted.
You are advised to travel as early as you are able to. Services on Friday evening, at weekends, or as we approach the 23 to 27 December Christmas bubble are expected to be in demand. Please be aware that rail services will shut-down earlier on Christmas Eve.
Tickets should be purchased online to reduce unnecessary contact. Tickets do, however, need to be shown during travel. To help railway staff, charge your phone and keep railcards together for ease of checking.
Do not take more luggage than you can carry. There is space for luggage on board, however you can reduce unnecessary contact with others by not needing help to carry it.
Hand sanitising equipment has been installed across the GWR network to help safe travel. Face coverings must be worn in the station and on the train unless you are exempt. Pay attention to station posters and floor markings and remember to reserve a seat to help maintain social distancing advice.
GWR Head of Customer Experience Samyutha Bala said: “We have been working hard to make sure that people can be confident to travel safely, and that includes running as many trains and carriages as we can to make extra room, as well as enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures.
Please do, however, plan ahead, reserve a seat, and be considerate of others.”
From Sunday 13 December rail operators will introduce their December timetables and customers should check their journey before travelling, especially if they are used to taking a train at a particular time.
Network Rail engineering work in the Bristol area, and on the North Downs line between Reading and Gatwick may also affect the normal timetabled service between Christmas and the beginning of January and customers asked to check the details of their journey before travelling.
GWR has been providing rail services throughout the pandemic and has worked to ensure that these are as safe as possible. This includes increased cleaning regimes and the use of a virucidal spray; extra staff at key stations to offer help and guidance; and processes in place to help customers maintain a safe distance where possible, such as restricting the number of reservations available.
Help keep everyone safe and maintain social distancing. More information on what GWR is doing to support safe travel can be found here . To find out more about busy trains go to GWR’s dedicated busy trains webpage here .