When lockdown is over can I travel by train? Student travel advice

Thursday 26th November 2020

After lockdown ends next week, the Government has proposed a week-long window from Thursday 3 to Wednesday 9 December to help university students safely travel home. 

GWR train driving past fields

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:

Book tickets in advance and remember you must reserve a space before travelling*:
  • help keep everyone safe and maintain social distancing. More information on what GWR is doing to support safe travel can be found here: www.gwr.com/safety
Avoid busy trains:
  • travel during the week, and not on Friday evenings or at the weekend when demand is greater. Find out more about busy trains at GWR’s dedicated busy trains webpage: www.gwr.com/travel-updates/our-busy-trains
Save money: Railcards remain valid and can be used to reduce the cost of tickets.
  • they do, however, need to be shown during travel. To help railway staff, carry tickets and railcards together for ease of checking
  • students with Advance tickets purchased on or before 11 November to travel on or after 10 December are able to change their journey (for services between 3 and 9 December) fee free
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
Hands. Face. Space.
  • 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. 

Those planning to travel should also pay due regard to any local travel restrictions in their area. 

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.

“We have also been in touch with the universities across our network to better understand the needs of those travelling.

“Please do, however, plan ahead, check before you travel and be considerate of others.”

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.

To aid students’ return home safely, the rail operator has been in contact with all of the universities to ascertain student numbers; is monitoring ticket bookings; and will have ‘Journey Maker’ staff at key stations to help offer advice and support.

*: To help make sure everyone can travel safely, you must reserve a space before travelling on many of our trains. This helps us limit the number of people on these trains so it’s easier to socially distance. For reservable trains, we’ll automatically allocate you a space if one is available or ask you to try another service if not. Don’t worry, we always leave space on board for those with walk-up tickets, such as season tickets, or those who may have been disrupted.


Notes to editors
Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England.
We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR.com. GWR is a FirstGroup company.