Train rules could see you locked out even if you have a ticket

Rail passengers are warned that they may be prevented from boarding intercity trains without a reservation as part of social distance measures.

Avanti West Coast, which operates Anglo-Scottish services on the West Coast Main Line, said the capacity of its trains will be limited to about a quarter of its normal level.

This means that passengers who have bought a ticket without a reservation are not allowed to travel on the next train that arrives.

The measure will be introduced before the timetable is increased on Monday and after updated travel advice from the government.

Phil Whittingham, general manager of Avanti West Coast, said, “We call on our valued customers to help us and other passengers by traveling alone with a reservation.

“If everyone does this, we can keep the social distance on board, both for our customers and for our people.

“If customers show up without a reservation, we’ll do our best to help, but we can’t guarantee they can take the train they want.”

The company has introduced a range of additional hygiene measures, including issuing face masks, improved cleaning arrangements and closing waiting rooms and lounges.

Network-wide services will increase from approximately 50% of the normal timetable to 70% from Monday as part of the relaxation of the coronavirus locking restrictions.

Sector organization the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) is urging passengers to avoid non-essential travel after a trip planning increase of nearly a quarter this week.

It was said that 3.7 million trips were scheduled between Sunday and Thursday, compared to three million in the same period a week earlier.

Passengers are asked to drive, cycle or walk to their destination rather than by public transport.

The RDG warned that the capacity of trains is limited to only 10% of the normal number of passengers.

Those who have no alternative way of making their journey are asked to avoid peak times.

RDG Director of Countries and Regions Robert Nisbet said, “To keep people safe, there will only be one-tenth of the usual number of people on the train, despite train companies gradually expanding their services next week.

“We need people’s help to keep trains free for those who really need them, so we ask people to consider alternatives, such as cycling or walking, and if not possible, to travel at quieter times.

“We are committed to keeping passengers and staff safe, including cleaning trains and stations several times a day, managing capacity and increasing signage to help people move.

“For those who do need to take the train, we ask that they plan ahead, consider others and remain safe when using public transport.

“That means you need to buy tickets online for quieter times of the day, where possible to distance yourself from society, wear a face covering and keep your hands clean.”

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