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GTR has confirmed that service levels will not be changing, which will help students to stagger their journeys. More images below and audio available on request.
GTR has confirmed that service levels will not be changing, which will help students to stagger their journeys. More images below and audio available on request.

Press release -

Travel Advice for Students from Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR)

With the student travel window opening this Thursday, the UK’s largest rail operator is supporting those that need to travel home by train to do so safely, by sharing information on top tips, travel advice and journey planning tools – in addition to retaining service levels throughout the period.

The Government has called for students travelling home for Christmas to do so from 3rd – 9th December only. GTR has confirmed that service levels will not be changing, which will help students to stagger their journeys. In addition, passengers are strongly encouraged to check before they travel as engineering works could affect certain routes.

Students who had already booked train tickets to travel home for Christmas before the announcement of the student travel window can now rebook their tickets to travel between 3rd and 9thDecember without paying additional fees.

Chris Fowler, Customer Services Director for Southern, says: “It’s been a tough year, especially for those who have been living away from home. That’s why we’ve been working with universities in our area to prepare for the travel window and help get students get back to their families safely.

“We’ll have plenty of services running during the travel window, but it’s essential that customers check before they travel. We’ve been doing huge amounts to keep our trains and stations clean in addition to reminding passengers that face coverings are mandatory in stations and on board our trains. Everyone must ensure they have one with them when travelling.”

To travel with confidence during the travel window, students should follow these simple steps from GTR:

  • See when specific stations and routes are usually the busiest, by going to the ‘How Busy is my Train’ webpages on Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern. This will help customers identify the easiest times to socially distance
  • Check before travelling by using the online journey planner from National Rail, which highlights the latest service and disruption information
  • Download the ‘Passenger Connect’ tool, which delivers personalised, real time information through Facebook Messenger. Sign up via the National Rail Enquiries website

GTR is working hard to support those who need to travel once the national lockdown lifts on Wednesday 2nd December. By following Government guidance, as well as rules that are in place in and around stations and on trains – students can feel confident that they will get home safely by train.

Audio clips from Chris Fowler are available upon request.

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Notes to editors:

  • Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern routes serve the following universities:
  • University of Brighton
  • University of Sussex
  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • BIMM Limited
  • Southampton Solent University
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Bedfordshire
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Chichester
  • University of Hertfordshire
  • University of Portsmouth

As well as various universities across London

  • City University, London
  • Goldsmiths London
  • Imperial College London
  • London Metropolitan University
  • London South Bank University
  • Ravensbourne University
  • Roehampton University
  • St George’s, University of London
  • The University of Law
  • Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
  • University of Greenwich
  • GTR advices all passengers to follow its top 10 tips for travelling, which are:
  1. Do not travel if you feel unwell or have any symptoms of Covid-19
  2. Please wear a face covering when you are travelling on the train and ensure you sanitise your hands before and after travelling
  3. Use contactless payment as much as you can or switch to the Key smartcard – this means that you can avoid going to the ticket office and/or machines as much as possible
  4. If you can, try and stagger your journey and avoid the morning and evening peaks
  5. We’re keeping our trains clean but every little action can help – how about using your elbow to open the door button to keep your hands clean
  6. Please try to avoid eating and drinking on board – you’re best to keep your face covering securely in place for your whole journey
  7. When taking the escalator, please stand on the right, do not walk down on the left and leave a few steps in between yourself and the person in front to allow for a gap
  8. Try boarding at the front or end of the train as there may be more space
  9. Please do your best to keep your distance from other travellers, let’s all help each other
  10. To help keep you and everyone around you safe, follow social distancing guidance at stations and advice from our friendly station staff
  • As previously permitted during the national lockdown between 05 November and 02 December, students with Advance tickets purchased on or before 11 November to travel on or after 10 December 2020 are permitted to change their journey in one of the following ways:
  • Fee-free change of journey (original origin and destination must be kept, but customers permitted to changed date and time to travel between 03 and 09 December inclusive. Customers will still be required to pay any fare difference)
  • Where possible, Advance ticket surrendered for eVoucher or Rail Travel Voucher for use towards a new ticket. Changes to existing Advance tickets must be made before the end of service on Wednesday 09 December 2020. Any changes made to Advance tickets after that date will be subject to normal terms & conditions of the ticket type regarding changes, although the previous arrangements (outlined in Staff Brief - changes to Advances tickets v.3, issued 30 October 2020) for local lockdowns still applies
  • Anytime, Off-Peak & Super Off-Peak Ticket Holders Customers holding non-Advance tickets to travel on or after 10 December, are permitted to change their journey to travel during the Student Travel Window, as allowed by the terms & conditions of those tickets



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