GTR is looking forward to welcoming students back but encourages all customers to check before they travel Image GTR

Train times may differ from the last time pupils used the railway

Ahead of schools and colleges returning to face-to-face learning from Monday 8 March 2021, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is sharing advice and reassurance to pupils and students who plan to travel by train.

On 22 February, the train company introduced a reduced timetable to match the fewer number of passengers travelling due to lockdown.

GTR said the new timetable followed feedback from key workers and schools. But GTR is encouraging all returning students to check before they travel as train times may differ from the last time they used the railway. All changes have been reflected in online journey planners, such as National Rail.

Jenny Saunders, customer services director for Thameslink and Great Northern, said:

“Over the past 12 months, we’ve listened to feedback from schools, businesses and key workers and designed timetables based on their needs. This time is no different and although we are running a reduced timetable, there will be trains to support key school and college routes.

“We would ask everybody using our services to check before they travel and follow the rules on social distancing and face coverings. With more cleaning and safety measures in place across our network – customers who need to travel can do so confidently.”

At the start of the pandemic in 2020, the train operator introduced an enhanced cleaning regime across its network to protect staff and passengers.

This included more cleaning teams, installation of 800 touch-free sanitiser points at stations, a range of processes to aid social distancing and applications of a long-lasting viricide at stations, depots and offices.

In addition, protective screens have been installed at 54 stations where ticket office windows are next to one another, as well as 108 screens now in place between self-serving ticket machines at 23 stations.

GTR staff also carry out weekly assurance checks across the network, which look at cleanliness, passenger messaging, social distancing and face covering compliance.