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Inter-city trains UK as lockdown eases

(21 Posts)
FullDisclosure Sat 27-Jun-20 16:40:47

I have a decision to make about visiting a family member towards the end of July. It's not an emergency visit but would be important to the family member.

I would have to travel to them by local train -> intercity train (4 hour journey) -> local train or taxi. I'd then stay in a hotel local to them for 7 days, then possibly stay in their house for a further week. I can't drive that far (new driver) and wouldn't like to ask friends to drive me, I don't have other family. I'm mid 50s, female and somewhat overweight but healthy and don't have any 'underlying conditions' as far as I know.

The bit I don't fancy is the train journey, especially the 4-hour inter-city. I've no idea how trains are running now, what the protocols are or what the risk is. Is the seating regulated? Is there anything to stop people sitting next to each other in the same density as usual? Are they on air-con or are windows open? I could wear higher-grade PPE masks (issued by my work months ago, never used) or more home-made type masks on the trains (not sure I can hack the higher grade ones all those hours) - trains seem like they might be risky to me but I also think now infections are relatively low might be better than later. I have to resume full-time and full-on work in September.

Any insights, experiences or info. gratefully received.

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EggysMom Sat 27-Jun-20 16:44:46

Have a look at this page:

My understanding is that you must wear a face covering in the station and on the train; that you have to book a seat where possible (not possible on local services); and that seating has been spaced out with a good number of seats not in use.

EggysMom Sat 27-Jun-20 16:47:48

To add a personal opinion - if you're not shielding, I'd say go as it sounds important to both you and the person you are visiting. Bear in mind that schools break up mid-July so more people will be looking to travel then.

FullDisclosure Sat 27-Jun-20 16:51:35

Thanks eggysmom, I did look at the available info but it doesn't quite give me the picture of how they are dealing with seating and vantilation. I may be worrying without cause.

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FullDisclosure Sat 27-Jun-20 16:52:35

I can't change the timing except to go late August instead.

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jellybeanz1212 Sat 27-Jun-20 17:05:40

The trains are dead on the west coast mainline Euston to Glasgow. Plenty of room to distance yourself. However may change after pubs and restaurants open. Best times to travel are late morning and early evening. Face masks needed at the station and on the train.

andadietcoke Sat 27-Jun-20 17:05:46

Unlikely to be openable windows on intercity trains.

jellybeanz1212 Sat 27-Jun-20 17:06:54

The train operating companies that pass the station I work at their trains are deep cleaned every night and high touch points on the train throughout the day, same with the stations themselves. I've worked throughout the lockdown and they are taking it all very seriously

FullDisclosure Sat 27-Jun-20 17:15:30

Thank you, I do feel reassured. I need to re-adjust! (I was posting replies on my phone but they are not appearing, soz)

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Ted27 Sun 28-Jun-20 00:25:52


I travelled from the Midlands to the north west on Thursday with my son, Three hours including a local service.

It was fine. We travelled after 9.30 and returned after 6. The trains were very quiet, plenty of space, you are asked to sit in window seats to help with distancing.
The only time it was even vaguely busy was a train to Bournemouth which we hopped on at Birmingham for 20 minutes ( now I know why!) but even then there was plenty of space

PlaygroundReviews Sun 28-Jun-20 08:26:52

I'm planning to London to see my mum next Saturday though that's only for the day.
I've got several face masks, but it's hard to know what the journey will be like, esp with the pubs opening. It's probably safer now than later in the year so it will be worth it.

Ginfordinner Sun 28-Jun-20 08:36:38

Intercity trains have aircon and no opening windows. This has been the case for many years. All the trains I see that go through our village are empty. I imagine that the intercity trains will be quiet as well.

FullDisclosure Sun 28-Jun-20 11:06:16

Thanks Ted, Playground and Gin -

It's good to know there is some social distancing.

I'll definitely wear a mask, I'm hoping the virus is not circulating much too.

I'm remembering aircon breakdowns where they wedged the carriage doors open and opened the little windows on the exit doors! I expect this is not their usual aim :-)

I'm probably going to go, I'm getting my courage up - what a strange thing to have to do.

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Ginfordinner Sun 28-Jun-20 11:48:00

I don't think it is social distancing so much that people just aren't using public transport unless they absolutely have to. We back on to a railway line whch just has local (Northern Rail) trains running, and I have never seen anyone on one of those trains since lockdown.

Most modern intercity trains don't have any windows that can be opened, not even in the doors.

Enjoy your journey. I'm sure it will be fine.

EggysMom Sun 28-Jun-20 11:50:16

Search on the websites of the actual train operating company to find out how they are implementing social distancing, e.g.

FullDisclosure Sun 28-Jun-20 12:49:56

That's my impression Gin, that transport where I am is mostly empty because people are wary of travelling but depending on the 'messages' people are getting about e.g. going on holidays, that could change.

Thanks eggysmom, I've just looked at the companies I'd travel with and while they don't explicitly say they are not selling all their seats, they do say you can only sit in your reserved seat and that they are socially distancing. I'm assuming that means some seats are not available to sit in to maintain social distance.

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DdraigGoch Sun 28-Jun-20 15:08:07

Which operators will you be travelling with? That would help us answer your question.

WanderingFruitWonderer Sun 28-Jun-20 15:28:51

Hi OP, I've had to make a couple of long-distant train journeys (about five hours each) in the last few weeks, since lockdown restrictions eased. Both essential, and I don't have a car. I worried too the first time, but it was honestly fine. I had to make two changes, which I liked, as it gave me a breather. All three trains were virtually deserted. I had an entire carriage to myself for a big part of the journey. Everyone face mask-clad, and I brought hand gel.
So, I didn't worry at all the second time. It was easy, and nicer than in normal times! Enjoy your journey x

FullDisclosure Sun 28-Jun-20 22:05:08

Thank you Wonderer, I'm imagining myself really doing this journey now!

I would travel by LNER / Cross Country and local rail East Midlands Ddraig.

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amicissimma Sun 28-Jun-20 22:17:05

I was on a mid-distance train recently. It was very quiet and everyone was avoiding each other. I noticed that everybody pressed the door buttons with their elbows.

I was apprehensive, but I felt loads better after I had done it and found it was fine and, apart from quiet, normal. I think that avoiding doing things makes them build up in the mind to much more of a deal than they really are.

DdraigGoch Tue 30-Jun-20 23:58:10

LNER is compulsory reservation then.

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