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Travelling on replacement buses

On days when Network Rail is upgrading the railway or it isn’t possible to run train services, we will use replacement buses to help keep you moving.

We know that travelling on a replacement bus can be a different experience to our trains so we’ve put together a handy guide to help you travel with confidence.

Sections covered in this guide:

Rail Replacement bus at bus stop

Types of replacement buses

We use a variety of different buses to best suit the route we need them for.


  • mostly used on longer journeys with few stops
  • most coaches have a capacity of approximately 50 people
  • usually fitted with air-conditioning
  • most luggage is stored beneath the bus in the luggage hold. A member of staff will be available to help load your luggage
  • small items such as handbags or rucksacks can be stored in luggage racks within the seating area
  • coaches equipped with toilet facilities can only be used at the driver’s discretion

Local buses

  • mostly used on shorter journeys or those involving multiple stops
  • double or single deck buses can be used
  • fitted with windows which can be opened
  • luggage can be stored next to you. Some buses may also have dedicated luggage storage areas


  • mostly used on journeys to or from specific stations where passenger numbers are normally low
  • luggage can be stored next to you or in the boot depending on the type of vehicle

Identifying a replacement bus

All replacement buses should have a sign in the window or an electronic display that says ‘RAIL REPLACEMENT’.

Vehicles will also have a sign showing the destination of the service in the window.

At most stations, staff will be available to direct you to the correct vehicle for your destination. Some replacement buses don’t stop at all stations so it is always best to check before boarding.

Travelling with animals, bikes, pushchairs or large items of luggage

Unfortunately, we cannot accept large items of luggage on replacement buses. This includes:

  • non-folding bikes (including tandems)
  • surfboards
  • electric scooters (not including mobility scooters)
  • luggage larger than 30 x 70 x 90cm
Assistance animals are permitted travel on replacement buses. Other animals can be carried subject to the Driver’s discretion.

Pushchairs or prams may be carried but these must be folded down before boarding.

Folding bikes may be carried as luggage, provided they are folded down before boarding.

Changing between train and bus at the station

We aim to make it as simple as possible from the moment you arrive at the station, to when you depart on the replacement bus.

We will have signs in place to help direct you to where the replacement buses depart. Staff will also be available to direct you at most stations. Some replacement buses don’t stop at all stations so it is always best to check before boarding.

Replacement buses and Covid-19

Operators supplying vehicles work hard to ensure that all enhanced cleaning standards are met, including high-touch areas and the use of anti-viral cleaning products. Replacement buses will be able to operate at full capacity.

Face coverings

Please follow Government advice when travelling on our services. Restrictions may differ between England and Wales so check carefully if your journey involves crossing between each country.

Where replacement buses stop

All replacement bus stop locations can be accessed using the National Rail website.

To find the replacement bus stop location click the link above and follow this guide:
  • enter your chosen station and click ‘Search’
  • on the station page, expand the ‘Staffing and general services’ drop-down tab
  • the replacement bus stop location can be found at the bottom of the table
We do our best to select the safest and most convenient location for our buses. This may sometimes mean that some locations are not near the station itself.

Check carefully before travelling and allow yourself plenty of time to reach the location of the replacement bus stop.



All buses we use, whether they are coaches, local buses or taxis, will be wheelchair accessible.

Coaches have a lift, enabling wheelchair users to access the vehicle*. All local buses we use will be low-floor vehicles with ramp access.

*Due to the layout of some stations, it may not be possible to use the lift. In these situations an accessible taxi will be provided instead.

Mobility scooters

Mobility scooters must comply with size and weight restrictions detailed in our Policy Guide (PDF, 997 KB).

Customers using mobility scooters who aren’t able to travel in a seat on the bus may board the vehicle in their scooter. Otherwise, please fold your scooter down and take it on as luggage.

Other access requirements

Step-free access to coaches is only available to customers in wheelchairs or mobility scooters. All other customers will need to enter the coach by using the steps.

Step-free access is available on services operated by low-floor local buses.

If you aren’t able to board or travel on a coach or bus, we can arrange an accessible taxi for you. Please contact our Passenger Assist Team or speak to a member of staff at the station.


If your journey involves a replacement bus you will still need to purchase a train ticket as normal.

Please ensure that you buy your ticket at the earliest opportunity. Options include:
  • mobile tickets – Download our app by searching for ‘Great Western Railway’
  • online – at or any other online ticketing website
  • at the station – using a ticket machine or at the ticket office (if available)

Delay Repay

If the arrival at your destination is delayed by 15 minutes or more as a result of GWR train or replacement bus you may be entitled to receive compensation.

Click here to find out more about Delay Repay.

Still have questions?

If there is still something you would like to ask us, get in touch with our team on Social Media. Search for ‘Great Western Railway’ on Facebook or Twitter. Alternatively, visit our Contact us page.

Anything missing?

We want to ensure that you are provided with all the information you may need before travelling. If there is something in this page you feel is missing or could be improved, we would like to hear from you. Please contact