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What you need to do

The advice from the Government is aimed at helping control Coronavirus. This means you must:

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly

Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

Read more about what you can and cannot do on the Government’s website.

You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.

You should not leave home if you or someone you live with has either a high temperature or a new, continuous cough. Check the NHS website if you have symptoms.

From 15 June, face coverings will be required while using public transport in England.

Visit the Government website for more

World Health Organization (WHO) advice | How to wear a fabric mask

Rail passenger with red cross

What is the travel advice?

At Transport for the North, we believe it has been crucial to maintain transport services for key workers and those using the network as their access to essential provision or support.

Services are also being maintained for those whose job requires them to travel and are not able to work from home, and those who are still required to attend school.

The government advice is to avoid using public transport where possible. Instead try to walk, cycle, or drive. If you do travel, thinking carefully about the times, routes and ways you travel will mean we will all have more space to stay safe.

The guidance covers:

  • Is your journey necessary?
  • Plan your journey
  • On your journey
  • Completing your journey

If your journey is essential, take these precautions when travelling.

  • Maintain 2 metre distance where possible
  • Use a face covering when you will be close to others
  • Use contactless payment where possible
  • Be patient and follow instructions from transport staff
  • Wash or sanitise your hands as frequently as possible

Before and during your journey, check with your transport operator for the latest travel advice on your route.

National Rail and Network rail are providing key information and travel updates for rail commuters.

This government page also provides information for working in the transport industry, including freight, shipping and sea ports.

Safer Travel Guidance

What measures are transport providers taking?

Rail networks across the north have implemented amended timetables.

These operator timetables have been informed by intelligence fed into the North of England Contingency Group, chaired by Transport for the North, and have been tailored to take account of the need to keep open essential links servicing hospitals and other vital community assets.

These urgent changes to rail provision across the region have been effective and focused, allowing those people who need to carry out essential journeys to do so safely.

The process of feeding back local intelligence to the rail industry will be maintained by Transport for the North’s Strategic Rail team throughout the crisis.

Further changes may be required as the effects of the pandemic continue to unfold.

The Government has also issued safer working principles and risk assessment for transport operators and organisations.

Man looking at live journey information
Interior of new Northern trains

Train operators and Network Rail

Measures taken by the operators and Network Rail to reduce risk during the pandemic include:

  • Deep cleaning of trains
  • Extra sanitisation facilities at stations
  • Cessation of on-board refreshments
  • Contact-less payment where possible
  • Closure of communal waiting rooms
  • Special ticket refund and rebooking measures – including for season tickets
  • Social distancing measures to protect passengers and train crews

Network Rail

Providing information for essential travel. Also advising people who do need to take essential journeys to check before they set out and follow public health advice. Read more.


Asking people to only travel if absolutely necessary. The amended timetables are designed to keep key workers and those making essential journeys on the move. Changes have been made following feedback from key workers and stakeholders.

TransPennine Express

A reduced frequency timetable is in place across the TransPennine Express network.

A TransPennine Express statement notes:

“Advice from HM Government is still for the nation to reduce non essential travel, avoid using public transport and for the public to work from home where possible. Please consider if your journey is really necessary.”

Find out more about the measures the train operator is taking here.

Highways England

Has robust contingency plans in place to ensure all critical work can continue. Roads remain open to critical services, and Highways England is working to ensure traffic flows smoothly for those who still to travel. Find out more here.

British Transport Police

Continuing to patrol major transport hubs and passing the government’s key message of maintaining social distancing while challenging unnecessary outings.

Assistant Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan said in a statement:

“All of us – passengers, rail staff and our officers – want to be safe when we’re working and using the rail network and we need to support each other so we can all do the right thing”

What action is Transport for the North taking?

At Transport for the North,  we urge commuters and rail companies to continue to follow the latest advice from government and public health officials.

We have taken the decision to move to full remote working to help protect all our team members, while remaining a fully functional organisation.

Our offices in Manchester and Leeds are closed until further notice, and we have issued full guidance to staff on working from home.

Meetings with key stakeholders continue via video conferencing and phone calls, to ensure everyone is across the latest advice and supported to deliver the required actions.

What should you do to help protect the NHS and Save Lives?

To reiterate, please consider – “Is your journey necessary?”

The Government guidance urges people to continue to work from home if they can and avoid public transport where possible to reduce pressure on the network

The advice adds those who have to travel for work should consider changing their travel habits – including cycling, walking or driving, and avoiding rush hour – to help people socially distance from others and reduce pressure on public transport.

From 15 June, face coverings will be required while using public transport in England. The updated advice has been published, along with guidance on how to wear and make a cloth face covering.

We have joined with operating companies, Network Rail, and the British Transport Police in calling on EVERYONE in the North plan their journeys and consider all other forms of transport before using public transport.

With social distancing an absolutely vital weapon in slowing the spread of the Coronavirus, all are determined that those who have to use the railways for essential purposes can do so with the minimum of risk – especially with many working in the region’s hospitals or other key areas of activity.

If you do travel, thinking carefully about the times, routes and ways you travel will mean we will all have more space to stay safe.