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GTR has installed 800 touch-free sanitiser points at its stations
GTR has installed 800 touch-free sanitiser points at its stations

Press release -

Leading Train Company Shares Reassurance to Welcome Pupils Back-on-Board

Ahead of schools and colleges returning to face-to-face learning from Monday 8th March, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is sharing advice and reassurance to pupils and students who plan to travel by train.

On 22nd February, the train company introduced a reduced timetable to better match the fewer number of passengers travelling due to lockdown. The new timetable follows feedback from key workers and schools, but GTR is encouraging all returning students to check before they travel as train times may differ from the last time they used the railway. All changes have been reflected in online journey planners, such as National Rail.

Chris Fowler, Customer Services Director for Southern, says: “We have used feedback from local schools, businesses and key workers to design timetables based on their needs. The new, reduced timetable supports schools and colleges on the route, but we would ask everyone using our services to check before travelling.

“We’re really looking forward to welcoming pupils, students and teaching staff back to our trains but would like to remind all customers that face coverings must be worn at all times unless you are exempt. With more cleaning and safety measures in place across our network, customers who need to travel can do so with confidence.”

At the start of the pandemic in 2020, the train operator introduced an enhanced cleaning regime across its network to protect staff and passengers. This included more cleaning teams, installation of 800 touch-free sanitiser points at stations, a range of processes to aid social distancing and applications of a long-lasting viricide at stations, depots and offices.

In addition, protective screens have been installed at 54 stations where ticket office windows are next to one another, as well as 108 screens now in place between self-serving ticket machines at 23 stations. GTR staff also carry out weekly Covid assurance checks across the network, which look at cleanliness, passenger messaging, social distancing and face covering compliance.

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Notes to editors

To keep passengers and staff safe, GTR is operating an enhanced cleaning regime:

    • More than 100 extra cleaning staff
    • All 2,700 train carriages across Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express sanitised every night using specially-procured short-term anti-viral sprays, with a focus on touchpoints
    • Powerful long-lasting viricide treated on trains, stations, offices and other staff locations
    • High-pressure dry steam and microfibre units used for enhanced cleaning. Bleach fogging used for decontamination in areas connected with any confirmed cases of Covid-19

    In addition, at stations:

    • 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 to remind travellers to socially distance
    • 800 touch-free hand sanitiser points in-use at stations across the network
    • E-tickets available at even more stations to reduce need for physical contact

    Other measures:

    • Staff app to monitor passenger volumes and movements and identify ‘hot spots’ across the network
    • GTR route-specific Coronavirus information, including the ‘How Busy is my Train’ checker, available on all brand websites (Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern)
    • Weekly Covid assurance checks carried out across the network looking at cleanliness, passenger messaging, social distancing and face covering compliance
    • Air inside most train saloons is replaced every five minutes



    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