Coronavirus COVID-19

Briefing to members and the travelling public

Railfuture takes the health and safety of its members and the travelling public extremely seriously, as does the rail industry with its passengers and staff. We want to campaign in a safe environment, aware of the dangers of COVID-19, taking account of measures being taken by government, and aware of advice from government and health organisations.

Government advice

To protect yourself and to ensure compliance with legal requirements it is essential to keep abreast of government advice noting that there are differences between England, Scotland and Wales. The Scottish and Welsh Governments have legal responsibility for COVID-19 advice in Scotland and Wales which apply to everybody when in those countries.

The GOV.UK website gives up to date information for England and GOV.Scot and GOV.Wales give up to date information for Scotland and Wales.

NHS advice, getting a test, Track and Trace

The NHS website gives advice on how to protect yourself against COVID-19.

Washing your hands thoroughly and frequently and not touching your face when out and about, together with social distancing, remain the principal levels of defence against contracting COVID-19.

The NHS Website also gives advice on symptoms of COVID-19 and how to arrange a test to detect if you have the virus and how the new Track and Trace system works. The test is now available to everybody with symptoms of COVID-19.

Meetings and travel

Everyone must avoid non essential travel on public transport but leisure trips are permitted on foot, using a bicycle or car. These must remain local in Scotland and Wales. Train and bus travel is now available for work and for essential journeys only as capacity has been drastically reduced to comply with 2 metre social distancing requirements.

The wearing of a face covering will be compulsory on all public transport including national rail, London Underground and light rail from 15th June (when all shops can reopen if they can demonstrate compliance with social distancing rules). This will be enshrined in the railway bye-laws.

In addition, train operators are asking you to
  • avoid peak times
  • wash your hands before and after your journey
  • carry a hand sanitiser with you
  • reserve a seat where possible (InterCity operators including Cross Country and LNER now require seat reservations for all journeys)
Passengers are also asked to buy tickets on line or use smartcards, and to show consideration to others when on busy trains or disembarking.

Non essential meetings must be postponed or arranged using social media virtual meeting platforms. All Railfuture meetings are taking place in this format currently.

Trips abroad

Railfuture is aware that many members and rail supporters take holidays abroad and that the situation is changing rapidly. The Worldometers website is updated daily and gives the situation in every country affected. The government continues to advise against all non-essential travel worldwide, and many countries remain closed to UK citizens. Some borders within Europe are starting to reopen but in many cases only to people from countries that now have a low incidence of the virus. The UK whilst witnessing a declining trend in new infections, still has a very high incidence of new infections.

You may be subject to a test and quarantining on arrival, and also from June you will be required to quarantine for 14 days on return to the UK. This is likely to be the default position until ‘air bridges’ can be agreed on a bilateral basis with individual countries, possibly in some cases from July.

The government advises against speculation in terms of advance booking trips abroad until proper government advice is given, so avoiding potential cancellations or quarantines. This is despite several operators taking speculative bookings from July in order to facilitate cash flow.

The Foreign Office gives travel advice on individual countries.

If you do plan to travel abroad it is essential to make sure you and your tour operator have proper insurance protection

If you plan to travel with a tour operator or book through a travel agency it is important to check and ensure it is properly bonded or ATOL protected and that you are properly insured to avoid being stranded. All operators should be able to produce evidence of this if asked. Railfuture will not publish advertisements from any rail or tour operator unable to demonstrate proper protection for potential clients.

Updated 4/6/2020. Railfuture will update this advice as additional developments occur.

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