Northern Update; Coronavirus

Mon, March 30th, 2020

Northern colleagues have been focused on providing the best possible service...

As our nation is adapting to the measures needed to tackle the spread of Covid-19, this week Northern colleagues have been focused on providing the best possible service to enable key workers to undertake their critical duties. We are also continuing to adapt the way we work to support social distancing guidance to protect passengers and colleagues. This update contains an overview of developments from this week.

Key Worker Timetable
We introduced our key worker timetable on Tuesday 24 March. This is based on a core operation of 06.00 – 22.00 and offering an hourly or two hourly service on nearly all routes, with some bus replacement services.

This has been working well to date and we’ve been gathering feedback and intelligence from stakeholders and customers as to how we can refine it to even better meet the travelling times of key workers with the resource we have available.

An overview of our timetables for Sunday 29 March are available on our website and full details will be available through National Rail Enquiries.

From Monday 30 March our updated key worker timetable will be in operation. We have been talking to many local stakeholders and customers to get your feedback on the revised timetable and, as a result, we've made changes on some routes, including additional services in some areas. Full details are available at National Rail Enquiries and pdf timetables are available on our website

Is Your Journey Necessary?
Media outlets have shared images this week of people not adhering to government guidelines about only making journeys that are absolutely essential. On Thursday 26 March Northern and industry partners changed social media headers and icons and shared messages across other digital channels asking the question ‘Is Your Journey Necessary?’. They also reminded passengers to only travel if their journey is essential (see above). Your help in sharing this message through your own networks is greatly appreciated.

Buying Tickets to Travel
We have suspended the sale of tickets on trains to maintain the social distancing instructions for our on-train staff. Passengers do need a valid ticket for the journey they are making and there are a number of easy ways to purchase a ticket, which are online and mobile booking, ticket vending machines and at our ticket offices. We are asking passengers to use contactless payments wherever possible as we are unable to accept cash payments at ticket offices until further notice. Anyone wishing to use cash is being advised to use the relevant ticket machines available.

To help those passengers who are no longer able to travel due to the current restrictions, we have made changes to our refunds/amendments policy. Full details are available on our website.

Other Measures
Following government advice, and in line with industry partners, we have closed all Northern station waiting rooms until further notice. In the event of bad weather we will review the situation and may open rooms if appropriate.

Hygiene Factors
We are maintaining a robust cleaning programme for our trains and stations. Touchpoints such as handrails and surfaces remain a key focus along with ensuring hand washing facilities are stocked with soap and water so passengers can follow government guidance.

We continue to share government guidance and messaging across all our available channels to help passengers protect themselves.

We are working hard to support our people, who are proud to be helping other key workers to carry out their own critical duties. They’ve also been grateful for the recognition and praise they’ve received from stakeholders and passengers while undertaking their role.

And finally, we have launched a dedicated Northern Covid-19 microsite bringing together all our travel information, guidance and updates in one location.

Thank you to everyone who has provided information to aid the development of our key worker timetables and for sharing our travel guidance with your networks. Across the rail industry and our stakeholders there is a clear commitment and collaborative approach to best serve the needs of our nation during these unprecedented and extremely challenging times.

The Northern Team

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