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GTR is looking forward to welcoming students back but encourages all customers to check before they travel
GTR is looking forward to welcoming students back but encourages all customers to check before they travel

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.

Jenny Saunders, Customer Services Director for Thameslink and Great Northern, says: “Over the past 12 months, we’ve listened to feedback from schools, businesses and key workers and designed timetables based on their needs. This time is no different and although we are running a reduced timetable, there will be trains to support key school and college routes.

“We would ask everybody using our services to check before they travel and follow the rules on social distancing and face coverings. With more cleaning and safety measures in place across our network – customers who need to travel can do so confidently.”

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 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