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Survey reveals that four in 10 Brits are most looking forward to a change of scenery when they return to rail. More pictures available below.
Survey reveals that four in 10 Brits are most looking forward to a change of scenery when they return to rail. More pictures available below.

Press release -

A train journey with a view: as Britain gets back on track, 41% of passengers are looking forward to a change of scenery

Survey reveals that four in 10 Brits are most looking forward to a change of scenery when they return to rail and that 31% have most-missed scenic landscape views from the train window.

When it comes to getting back to rail travel, Brits are most looking forward to a change of scene (41%) according to a new survey commissioned by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR).

The top three things passengers are most looking forward to about returning to train travel:

  1. Enjoying a change of scenery (41%)
  2. Exploring the UK (37%)
  3. Having some time to wind down (29%)

After spending many months indoors, enjoying a change of scene came out on top across all age groups. Interestingly though, there are some big generational differences: Gen Z (16-24-year-olds) have seemingly used their time in lockdown to learn, with 23% looking forward to practicing their new hobbies while on board, compared to just 4% of over 55s.

When asked to consider what they had missed the most about train travel, most respondents chose scenic views out of the window – more than visiting friends and family.

The top three most-missed things about train travel:

  1. Seeing the views out of the train window (31%)
  2. Being able to visit my family and friends (24%)
  3. Knowing the journey is taken care of, without having to navigate (23.6%)

As lockdown restrictions continue to ease this month, the UK’s largest rail operator, GTR, which runs Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express services, is on hand to welcome passengers back when they are ready, with 62% of adults surveyed feeling ‘very’ or ‘quite’ confident about returning to train travel.

When asked what would make people feel more confident about travelling by train, the top responses were social distancing and the use of face coverings (both at 44%) and the availability of hand sanitiser (41%). The rail operator is reassuring customers by sharing insights and a new video featuring its colleagues showcasing the huge levels of preparation that have been put in place, including more cleaning staff than ever before working to keep customers safe and the use of a long-lasting viruscide across all stations and trains, with a particular focus on touchpoints.

GTR’s Chief Operating Officer Steve White said: “We’re excited to welcome people back to the railway but we know it could be a big change for people who haven’t travelled for a while. We’ve been supporting our fantastic key workers for the past year by keeping the railway running for those who’ve needed to travel. Now, as more passengers start to return, we want to ensure everyone feels safe, reassured and confident – whether they’re having a first meet up with friends, exploring the local area or simply enjoying the views they haven’t seen for a while from their train window.”

For everyone’s safety and comfort, GTR is also reminding passengers to wear face coverings on board and on platforms unless exempt, to keep their distance where they can and sanitise their hands before and after every journey.

To help returning passengers plan their journeys GTR has developed a ‘live maps’ tool across its websites, which shows the service status of each route and helps customers avoid any disruption. There are also many contactless options for travel across the network, including barcode readers at 60 stations and the Key smartcard for e-tickets.

A new video featuring colleagues from Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express services has just been released, showing teams across the network looking forward to welcoming passengers back to the railway.

To hear more from dedicated GTR staff who have worked throughout the pandemic, please see below:

  • Nadia Davidson, originally from Jamaica, joined Southern in the height of the pandemic last year and took on the additional challenge of an apprenticeship. No easy task at 47 years old. Read her story here
  • Like most parents across the UK, Myles Francis has spent the last year juggling his job as a train driver for Great Northern, whilst navigating home schooling for his daughter. He tells his story here
  • Jovana Pinter works as a Station Assistant at Luton Airport Parkway, which is normally one of the busier stations on the Thameslink route. Things have been up and down for her during the pandemic. Find out more here


Research methodology:

The research for GTR was carried out online by Opinion Matters between 30.03.2021 - 01.04.2021 amongst a panel resulting in 2,023 nationally representative UK adults. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2019) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and is fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (2018)

Key Facts

  • All trains have air conditioning which continually refreshes the air in each carriage every 6-9 minutes
  • Alerts will show busy trains in online journey planners such as National Rail Enquiries, where you can also subscribe to journey alerts and see information on busier services
  • Weekly Covid safety checks are carried out across trains and stations, looking at cleaning, passenger information, social distancing and the wearing of face coverings
  • GTR sanitises all 2,700 of its train carriages every night and uses a long-lasting viricide across stations and trains which kills coronavirus for weeks at a time
  • Independent laboratory results show that Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern trains are testing negative for Covid-19
  • Over 1,000 touch-free hand sanitisers have been installed at stations
  • · To keep passengers and staff safe, there is an enhanced cleaning regime focused on touch points: GTR has hired more than 100 extra cleaning staff and treats its trains, stations, offices and other staff locations with a powerful long-lasting viricide which sticks to surfaces and kills viruses for weeks at a time.
  • One-way and queuing systems at the busiest stations, with 19,000 floor signs across the network, 25,000 train signs, posters, adverts and announcements
  • Twice-weekly rapid lateral flow tests of asymptomatic staff to provide added protection and reassurance for colleagues and passengers
  • E-tickets are available at 60 stations
  • Order a free Key smartcard online, buy a new season ticket online, and add it to your card simply by tapping it to your phone or a station ticket gate or validator



For more information, contact the press office on 0203 750 2031.

Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
  • Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
  • Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
  • Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria

Govia Thameslink Railway
United Kingdom