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Train Passengers – update from Govia

18 May 2020

Following government announcements this week, and the confirmation of timetable changes from Sunday 17 May, the following update has been issued :.

Informing travel decisions before the journey: only travel by public transport if there are no other options

At the station

We’re making plans to direct passenger flow in stations in a way that supports social distancing – especially at our larger stations where it may be necessary to have one way or queuing systems for example. We will be working with our colleagues at Network Rail on the approach at our London Terminals. We’ll use methods such as posters, monitor screens, stickers, floor markings and announcements to prompt passengers to maintain a two-metre distance where that’s feasible. These will gradually appear at stations over the next few days.

We’ll continually assess passenger flow through the day making amendments as required, for example changing entries and exits on a gateline to help manage people on concourses and platforms. We will monitor numbers very closely in real-time through our already established data gathering systems on trains, gateline information, and also from station teams who are linked into our control room at Three Bridges.

From this live data and staff feedback, our control room can make decisions to support the network depending on the situation, for example issuing website and social media announcements to encourage passengers to avoid a busier route or station, or to provide an additional stop at a station. We’ll also encourage passengers to check for latest advice before setting off, and to allow more time for any flow management or queuing in place.

Staff will continue to keep services running for those who must travel, as they have to date, providing good customer service to passengers. They will guide passengers in social distancing, although they are not expected to police this directly. We will have assistance from our colleagues in the British Transport Police should it be needed.


Supporting the national rail communications drive, we’ll be reminding passengers at stations to keep their distance, but also to wear face coverings, and to maintain the good hygiene that has been a key part of government advice since the start of the pandemic.

Cleaning and hygiene

We’ve already enhanced the regular cleaning regimes on stations and trains through extra staff, focusing particularly on high touch points such as handles and grab-rails. In addition, we’ve just completed treatment of our entire fleet of trains with a new viruscide which kills the Coronavirus for 30 days, and the same is in progress at our stations. The application of this product is undertaken after areas are thoroughly cleaned.
We have also ordered 1000 ‘no-touch’ hand sanitisers to be distributed to stations to bolster hygiene measures for those passing through.

Performance and punctuality

As we add to services from next week, we are continuing to work with Network Rail to ensure that our railway is as reliable and punctual as possible, and that issues that arise are dealt with quickly through the control room. We have also reviewed our standard operating plans to be more flexible in the event of any network disruption to ensure that we do what we can to manage passenger numbers on trains and at stations.

“if you have to travel to work because you cannot work from home, please avoid public transport – if possible walk, or cycle or go by car”.

Angie Doll
Managing Director, Southern and Gatwick Express and GTR Executive lead on COVID-19

For more information on the Government’s advice on safer travel go to: