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Coronavirus: Rail information and advice

Updated: 1pm Thursday 1 July

Help keep yourself and everyone safe when you’re outside the home by thinking about how and when you travel and following safety guidance.

Consider all other travel options before using public transport, including cycling and walking.

Plan ahead, allow extra time for your journeys and be patient when travelling.

If you are travelling, avoid the busiest times and routes.

On public transport, you must wear a face covering unless you are exempt. Keep your distance from others, clean your hands frequently and use contactless payment.

It’s more important than ever to plan ahead and check the timetables below before you travel on public transport.

Free cross-city Metrolink travel in Zone 1 covering all city centre stops is now available for all rail users, irrespective of whether their journey originates at a Greater Manchester station. This will be in place until normal services are resumed.

Before you travel, please check the status of your journey with National Rail.


Northern

Government advice remains that people should avoid using public transport where possible, and Northern continue to ask that only key workers and those whose journeys are essential use rail services.

If your journey is essential and you have no other option but to travel by train, then please follow these simple steps;

  • Buy yout ticket online
  • Respect the 2m distance rule
  • Follow instructions at stations and of train crew
  • Use a face covering if you can
  • Wash your hands before and after your journey
  • Take your face covering and litter with you
  • Allow extra time for your journey

Find out more on the Northern webiste.


TransPennine Express

A greatly reduced frequency timetable will apply across the TransPennine Express network from Monday 23 March until further notice.

The main changes are outlined below.

  • Manchester to Bolton services are reduced by one TPE train per hour for most of day.

  • There will now be very few TPE services to/from Manchester Airport for much of day.

  • Manchester to Sheffield fast service, via Stockport, is reduced by one train every alternate hour.

  • Manchester to Liverpool services, via Newton-le-Willows,are reduced from two TPE services per hour to one.

  • Manchester to Leeds services, via Stalybridge, are reduced from six TPE services per hour to two. Frequency broadly maintained at Stalybridge, Mossley, & Greenfield.

  • No trains will use the Ordsall Chord (Victoria-Oxford Road-Piccadilly). Passengers should use the tram or other alternative modes.

Full timetables can be viewed on the TPE website.


Avanti West Coast

From Monday 23 March, and until further notice, Avanti West Coast will be running a reduced timetable.

As a result there will only be one train per hour between London and Manchester via Stoke.

This will call at: Milton Keynes, Stoke-on-Trent, Macclesfield and Stockport.

View the full timetable on the Avanti West Coast website.


Transport for Wales

The most up-to-date service information is available on the Transport for Wales website.

Current Welsh Government guidance is to Keep Wales Safe and travel only if your journey’s essential.

You must also wear a face covering on train services in England.

Key workers carrying official NHS photo identity cards travel free on TfW services until Tuesday 30 June.


CrossCountry

From Monday 23 March, CrossCountry will be moving to a reduced timetable in response to lower demand and in support of the Government’s advice against non-essential travel.

The Manchester to Bournemouth train will now operate once per hour.

View the full details on the CrossCountry website.


Rail ticket refunds

All train companies are suspending the £10 admin fee on refundable train tickets.

If you have an off-peak or anytime ticket and decide not to travel due to concerns about coronavirus, you can get a fee-free 100% refund from the train company you booked with.

If you have a discounted Advance ticket, all train companies have agreed to waive the £10 admin fee so you can travel at a later date.

If you have booked with third-party retailer, for example Trainline, you would need to contact the third-party retailer directly.

For more information on train ticket refunds, please contact the train company you bought your ticket from. The main train companies that run into Greater Manchester are below.

Northern

Northern is offering customers with an annual or monthly season ticket, or a GM Traincard from Northern, a pro-rota refund in line with their standard policy.

Find out more on the Northern website.

TransPennine Express (TPE)

Customers who bought their ticket from the TransPennine Express website or the TransPennine Express app can apply for a refund (if their tickets are refundable) via their website. Customers who booked their tickets at a station can also claim for a refund online.

For information on advance ticket and season ticket refunds, please visit the TransPennine Express website.


Concessionary travel pass use before 9.30am

With more people now returning to work, government advice over social distancing on public transport and the withdrawal of dedicated morning shopping hours for people at higher risk from coronavirus by some retailers, from Tuesday 2 June 2020 concessionary pass holders will no longer be able to travel for free on public transport before 9.30am on weekdays in Greater Manchester.

The reintroduction of the 9.30am restriction will help manage capacity and the challenges the public transport network is facing during the morning peak period, to keep passengers as safe as possible and help limit the spread of coronavirus.

Concessionary pass holders will continue to benefit from free bus travel and – if they’ve paid to add tram and train, be able to use their pass on Metrolink and trains – after 9.30am Monday to Friday and all day on weekends and bank holidays.


Tickets

All train companies are suspending the £10 admin fee on refundable train tickets.

If you have an Off-peak or Anytime ticket, and decide not to travel due to concerns about coronavirus, you can get a fee-free 100% refund from the train company you booked with.

If you have a discounted Advance ticket, all train companies have agreed to waive the £10 admin fee so you can travel at a later date.

To do this, contact the train company you booked with. If you have booked with third-party retailer for example Trainline, you would need to contact the third-party retailer directly.


Free cross city Metrolink travel, between Victoria and Piccadilly, is now available for all rail users, irrespective of whether their journey originates at a Greater Manchester station. This will be in place until normal services are resumed.


If you have a train ticket (other than County Card), please visit the relevant train company’s website for more information.

For GM annual traincard refunds, please visit Northern's website.