Coronavirus - Travel with Confidence

Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, the safety of our customers and our colleagues has been our biggest priority. Now that legal social distancing restrictions have been lifted it's only natural to feel uneasy, especially when travelling close to others. Rest assured we’re continuing to do everything we can to make your journey as safe as possible and help you to travel with confidence.

You can play your part by following these simple rules and advice:

1) Please don’t travel if you have any Coronavirus symptoms or are generally feeling unwell.

2) Plan your journey if possible. You can check for quieter trains by using our Seat Finder Tool.

3) In crowded spaces, wear a face covering out of respect to others.

We are continuing our enhanced cleaning regimes in our stations, on our trains and across our depots. We are particularly targeting those areas which are regularly used by customers and staff, such as gate lines, ticket vending machines and doors.

We are also regularly swab testing our most commonly touched areas such as ticket machines, door handles and toilet flush buttons. To date we have seen Zero positive results. The swabbing project is part of a detailed plan that EMR has put in place so you can travel with confidence. We are also continuing to employ more cleaners than ever before, using powerful disinfectant products and purchasing new specialist fogging cleaning equipment.

If you see anything which isn't as clean as it should be, please do not hesitate to tell a member of staff immediately. We continue to use different working practices to help our staff keep their distance from each other.

We’ve also installed hand sanitiser units at 15 of our busiest stations for customer use. You can see which stations have hand sanitiser units available here. All our trains and many other stations have toilets with soap and hot water for customers to wash their hands. If you find soap is not provided, please let a member of staff know immediately.

In crowded spaces, wear a face covering out of respect to others.

In line with the latest Government Guidance, you are expected to wear a face covering in crowded places out of respect to others. Wearing your face covering in crowded indoor settings, such as a busy train remains a sensible step to protect yourself and those around you from contracting Coronavirus.

There are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances, noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings, and that the reasons for this may not be visible to others.

This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Children under the age of 11 (Public Health England does not recommend face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)
  • People who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • Where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  • If you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip-reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
  • To avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others ‒ including if it would negatively impact your ability to exercise or participate in a strenuous activity

How will this be enforced? Will railway staff be preventing people from getting on trains or going through ticket barriers if they don’t have a mask?
It is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering on public transport and therefore it cannot be enforced. However, we are confident that people will want to do the right thing, follow the latest advice and wear a face covering where it is appropriate.

What about people who can’t wear face coverings – disabled people, those with breathing difficulties? How will you know if they are genuine?
People with specific conditions that mean they cannot wear a face covering. We are confident that the vast majority of people will want to do the right thing, help keep others safe and wear a face covering. .

Does this apply to children?
This only applies to those aged 11 and over. Children under the age of 11 are not expected to wear a face covering.

What should I do if I’m sitting in a carriage with someone who isn’t wearing a face covering?
We are confident that the vast majority of people are going to want to do the right thing and help protect others by bringing and wearing a face covering while travelling. Please also be aware that some passengers may not be able to wear a covering due to medical issues and not every medical issue or disability is visible.

What is a face covering?
The Government’s instructions state that a face covering is a cloth that should “cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably. It can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head.”

Capacity
As the Government has set out in Stage 4 of the Covid roadmap – all limits on social interaction and the legal requirement for social distancing will be removed from Monday 19 July. As these restrictions are lifted and as more people travel, it is likely more of our services will become busier and maintaining a distance between each other of two metres will not always be possible.

We will continue to keep the allocation of our train fleet under constant review and ensure we are providing as many seats as we possibly can and prioritising those services and routes which we know are the most popular

In addition, we're continuously analysing customer travel patterns and how busy our trains are and use this information to keep our Seat Finder Tool updated. You can use the tool to quickly check how busy your train is likely to be based on recent averages.

Use our seat finder tool

Cleaning
We’ve enhanced our cleaning regimes, both overnight and at regular intervals during the day, paying special attention to ‘high contact areas’ such as handrails and door open buttons. You will also continue to see cleaners on trains while they are in passenger service.

Seat Reservations
Seat reservations will be reintroduced, but will not be mandatory on our Intercity route to London from 1st August 2021

Catering
We have reintroduced catering delivered to your seat in first class on our EMR Intercity services, however, catering in Standard Class remains suspended. This means it will not be possible to buy refreshments on board so please consider bringing something with you, especially for longer journeys.

Much like on board the train, we’ve enhanced our cleaning regimes both overnight and during the day, paying special attention to ‘high contact areas’ such as ticket machines and handrails. We also engage in regular swab testing to ensure our trains and stations remain Covid-Free. Hand sanitiser kiosks are available at our busiest stations for you to use before you travel.

To allow our cleaners to focus on high contract areas, a small number of our toilets have been closed. Toliets at Mansfield, Boston, Sleaford, Spalding, Newark Castle, Stamford, Narborough and Oakham are closed. At Skegness, the main toilets are closed but the disabled toilets remain available for everyone upon request. At Nottingham, the toilets on the Southern Concourse are closed but all others at the station remain open.

Our team continue to be on hand at our staffed stations should you need any assistance and at the other end of the help point at our un-staffed locations. If you need help or information whilst travelling, we're here for you 24/7 on Twitter, Facebook and over the phone 03457 125678

You can check what facilities are usually available at your station here.

We have introduced temporary changes to the opening hours of small number of our station ticket offices. This helps to improve the ability of the railway to provide a dependable service for our customers by reducing the number of staff necessary to operate the railway.

Revised ticket office opening hours:

Station Monday to Friday Saturday Sunday
Mansfield Closed Closed Closed
Newark Castle 0600 - 1400 0800 - 1600 Closed
Oakham 0700 - 1145 0910 - 1340 Closed


Any ticket offices not listed here are unchanged.

Following the introduction of the May 2021 timetable it has become apparent that our new timetable has not performed as expected resulting in short notice cancellations. We are sorry that we have not performed as we, or our customers, expect.

Everyone at EMR is immensely disappointed but we have introduced a dedicated team to fix these issues and reinstate these services as swiftly as possible. We are working to understand the detailed reasons behind those areas which are not working well.

While we fix these issues, we must introduce a reduced timetable which will run from Saturday 19th June until further notice. This will allow us to protect key services and routes such as those to Skegness - as well as ensuring we have sufficient capacity across the network. We will still run 85% of our normal timetable, which equates to over 460- trains per day. This reduction will help to reduce short notice cancellations and short forming which we know are immensely frustrating for our customers.

EMR Intercity EMR Connect routes will not be affected by the reduction. Most EMR Regional routes will see a reduced timetable. Details of the reductions, as well as downloadable timetables can be found here.

We'll continue to monitor how busy our train services are and keep our Seat Finder tool updated.

Please be aware that some train times are subject to late notice alteration. For details of engineering work or planned alterations to services, visit our changes to train times page here.

You should check your journey online before travelling using our live train search.


Booking Assistance
If you need assistance to make your journey we ask that you book assistance in advance to allow us to make sure we have everything in place ready to safely assist you to make your journey. You can book assistance up to 10pm the day before travel. We recommend booking in advance if you can, but you are not able to, we will always be there on the day to help you.

To book assistance please contact us on 08000 11 33 23 (8am - 7pm, 7 days a week) or book online here.

Your Safety
Our team will do everything they can to minimise physical contact but will ensure we provide the same personal service you are used to. Wherever we can we’ll also make sure we wash our hands or use hand sanitiser both before and after assisting you.

Travelling with a visual impairment
We will ask how you would like to be assisted, and a member of the station team will still be able to help guide you to your train using their elbow.

Travelling with a wheelchair
We will ask you to face forward whilst we assist you, this reduces the risk of contact whilst being assisted. Our team may wipe the handles before they assist you. Wherever we can we’ll also make sure we wash our hands or use hand sanitiser both before and after assisting you.

Whilst you are using the lift we might take the stairs at meet you at the top or bottom as we try to keep the number of people in a lift to one at a time as much as we can, however, we know that in some circumstances this won't be possible.

Travelling with a hearing impairment
We understand that face coverings may make it more difficult to communicate, particularly if you lip read. So we may also use notebooks and written messages to help, with clear and simple language, and will be polite and understanding.

Luggage Assistance
If you are using our assisted travel service we will still help you with your luggage, but will ask you to move away from luggage items before we pick them up so that we can adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Travelling with a neuro-diverse condition such as Autism or Dementia
We will be patient and calm while providing the assistance you need as we understand that travelling at the moment may be unsettling.

The most important thing we can all do to help beat Coronavirus is to stay at home if you have symptoms.

The following tips are also useful:

  • To limit your interaction with others you should consider buying your ticket online or on the East Midlands Railway App. Consider choosing 'e-ticket' as your delivery option to use your phone or printed PDF as your ticket. You can then pass through the station without having to queue to collect or buy your ticket. Find out more about e-tickets and the EMR app here.
  • Returning to the UK from a country on the quarantine list - When you arrive in the UK, you should go straight to the place you’re staying to self-isolate. Only use public transport if you have no other option. If you do use public transport, wear something that covers your nose and mouth and stay 2 metres apart from other people unless you are exempt. Pack a face covering or scarf to cover your nose and mouth before you travel. If you have coronavirus symptoms, it is important that you do not travel by public transport.

  • Remember to wash your hands regularly. Many of our stations and all of our trains have toilets on board with hot water and soap. We also provide free hand sanitiser at 15 of our busiest stations but you may wish to travel with your own too. If you find a toilet without soap, please inform a member of staff immediately.


Make changes to your booking fee free


Under pour Book With Confidence Scheme, until 31st December you can amend the date and time of Advanced tickets fee free up until 6pm the day before you travel. You can find out more here.

Other ticket types may be refunded or amended too. Click here to view our refund policy.

If you have unused Rail Travel Vouchers that expire between 20 October 2020 and 30 June 2021 your voucher(s) will automatically be valid for an additional six months from the original date of expiry.

This page is frequently updated. Page last updated: 19th July 2021.