Coronavirus Travel Information

Information from East Midlands Railway

Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, the safety of our customers and our colleagues has been our biggest priority and we have done everything we can to make journeys as safe as possible to allow you to travel with confidence.

In line with updated Government advice we are asking customers to travel safely.
You can do this by following these simple rules:

1) Do Not Travel – if you have any Coronavirus symptoms or are generally feeling unwell. Refer to the NHS latest advice on symptoms here.

2) You must wear a face covering indoors at the station and on the train unless exempt. This is a legal requirement across the country when using any type of public transport and if you do not you may be refused travel and fined £100.

3) Be considerate of others by keeping a safe and sensible distance from other customers and our colleagues.

4) Plan your journey - If possible, try to avoid travelling during the busiest times of the day or avoid the busiest trains. To help you do this, we have introduced a Seat Finder Tool

You can view the Uk Government's safe travel advice here.

We have also produced this video to help you travel safely:

It's really important to us that we deliver on our promises, that's why we are running a slightly reduced timetable which means that we can still run the trains we have said we would, even in the event of short term staff shortages. We are monitoring train loadings to ensure that our most popular services have enough space on board for you to maintain social distancing. See our timetable section for more information.

We introduced enhanced cleaning regimes in our stations, on our trains and across our depots in March and these are continuing today. We are particularly targeting those areas which are regularly used by customers and staff, such as gate lines, ticket vending machines and doors. If you see anything which isn't as clean as it should be then 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 have installed hand sanitiser units at 15 of our busiest stations for customer use. 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.

The UK Government has mandated the use of face coverings on public transport, including at Transport hubs when indoors. This means that you must wear a face covering when travelling with us unless medically exempt. See the latest Government announcement on Face Coverings here.

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?
We are confident that people will want to do the right thing, follow the rules and wear a face covering. We will have lots of reminders up around stations and elsewhere, and remember, we are talking about coverings here which can be made quite simply, not surgical masks, so it will be relatively easy for people to do.

Ultimately though, rail staff will be supported by British Transport Police to stop people from travelling if they have to.

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 will not have to do so. 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 and not to game the system.

Does this apply to children?
This only applies to those aged 11 and over. Children under the age of 11 are not required 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 in stations and on trains. 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. Regardless of whether someone is wearing a mask, people should keep their distance – at least two metres, if possible.

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.”

Where does this apply – just on trains or in stations too?
The law was updated on 24th July to mandate the use of face coverings while indoors at Transport Hubs including railway stations. We want people to wear face coverings from when they enter a station all the way through their journey, including exiting the station at the other end. If people are then moving onto the bus, tram or tube, they should avoid taking off their face covering while they interchange to avoid touching their face or mouth unnecessarily.

Why are you doing this now?
Making face coverings compulsory is a sensible step, introduced by Government and applicable to all public transport, as more people start to return to travelling and as social distancing at all points of a journey, therefore, becomes more difficult.

We have added new customer information and advice at all 91 of our stations, across our social media accounts and website. Reminders about how to maintain social distancing on board are also available on our trains.

At some of our larger stations, we have introduced new wayfinding and changes to entrances and exits.This might mean some small changes to your typical journey and it may take longer.

We are keeping our timetable and how we use our train fleet under constant review to try to provide enough capacity for everyone to travel while maintaining social distancing. However, we have a limited number of trains, staff and track access and therefore it's not possible to guarantee that all passengers who wish to travel can socially distance on board. For this reason, it is vital that you wear your mandated face covering when using public transport.

We're analysing customer travel patterns and continue to keep our Seat Finder Tool updated with the latest data. You can use the tool to quickly check how busy your train is likely to be based on recent averages. We request that you try to travel at quieter times where possible.

Use our seat finder tool

In addition to checking for quieter trains in advance of travelling we will also keep you updated on the day. We're monitoring social distancing closely at all times and in the event of a train or station being reported as reaching optimum social distancing capacity we'll let you know in real time via our Rainbow Boards as well as the Plan & Buy journey planner on the EMR app.

If the train you are planning to use is running at optimum capacity, please consider using an alternative service.

In the unlikely event of the last service to your destination being too busy to board, please speak to a member of our team. We will make alternative arrangements for you. We're here for you 24/7 on Twitter, Facebook and over the phone. Click here for details of how to get in touch.

Check Live Train Information

Please remember our teams in our stations and on our trains are not responsible for the enforcement of social distancing. So please work with us, be mindful of your fellow passengers, and take sensible steps to keep a safe distance.

In response to local areas of concern, the Government may introduce further restrictions. This section will aim to keep you updated with local travel restrictions in areas served by East Midlands Railway.

Merseyside and areas of Lancashire
From Tuesday 22nd September, government guidance advises that public transport is for essential purposes only, such as travelling to and from school or work.

East Midlands Railway services will continue to operate as normal but should only be used by those who need to travel.

For more information and the full list of affected areas, please visit the Government announcement here.

On Monday 7th September we reintroduced 76 more services each weekday, providing 97% of or pre-coronavirus timetable. We know that being on time is just as important as the number of services, this is why we have been working closely with Network Rail to look at areas where we can improve punctuality. To help keep our services running on time, we have introduced a number of further local changes to train times. These changes are highlighted in the route by route menus below.

You can find all our timetables, effective from Monday 7th September here.

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.

On Monday 7th September we re-introduced our full timetable to and from London St Pancras International. This means an additional 33 services per day and includes the reintroduction of our direct services between Corby and London.

To allow for the introduction of these additional trains and maintain the improved performance of recent months, we have made some minor changes to two of our services as shown below.

0600 Sheffield to London St Pancras will no longer call at Wellingborough at 0736.
Alternative services from Wellingborough to London will depart at 0616, 0639, 0642, 0731 and 0751.
This will help to improve the punctuality of the 0600 Sheffield to London.

1719 London St Pancras to Derby will no longer call at Wellingborough (1806) or Market Harborough (1825).
Alternative services to Wellingborough will depart London St Pancras at 1650, 1705, 1750, 1805, 1843, 1847.
Alternative services to Market Harborough will depart at 1705, 1734.
This will help to improve the punctuality of the 1734 St Pancras to Nottingham and the 1802 St Pancras to Sheffield services which are often delayed by the 1719 in front.

You can find our timetable for Monday 7th September and beyond here.


On Monday 7th September we reintroduced our traditional, pre-Covid-19 timetable however services depart Norwich 2 minutes earlier than before. Please check your journey before you travel. You can find our timetable for Monday 7th September and beyond here.


On Monday 7th August we reintroduced our full timetable between Derby and Crewe - an additional 10 services per day.

To allow for the introduction of these additional trains and maintain the improved performance of recent months, we are making a change to our normal timetable.

With the exception of our first and last trains and any which we identify as being important for school or college traffic, we will not be calling at Alsager in either direction.

West Midlands Trains services from Alsager to Crewe will depart around 25 minutes past each hour. Services to Stoke will depart around 9 minutes past the hour. If you are travelling from Derby to Alsager or from Alsager to Derby you can change at Stoke on Trent to pick up EMR services.

You can find our timetable for Monday 7th September and beyond here.


On Monday 7th September we reintroduced a further three services per day.

To allow for the introduction of these additional trains and maintain the improved performance of recent months, Whitwell and Langwith Whaley-Thorns will be served by one train every 2 hours during the off peak. An hourly service will be provided for both stations during the morning and evening peak times. Some rail replacement buses will run serving Whitwell and Langwith Whaley-Thorns throughout the day.

You can find our timetable for Monday 7th September and beyond here.


On Monday 7th September we reintroduced our traditional, pre-Covid-19 timetable. You can find this here.


On Monday 7th September we reintroduced our traditional, pre-Covid-19 timetable. You can find this here.


On Monday 7th September we reintroduced our traditional, pre-Covid-19 timetable. You can find this here.


On Monday 7th September we reintroduced our traditional, pre-Covid-19 timetable. You can find this here.

We’ve enhanced our cleaning regimes, paying special attention to ‘high contrast areas’ such as ticket machines and handrails. We’ve also introduced free hand sanitiser kiosks at our busiest stations for you to use before you travel.

You’ll notice new customer information and advice including signage and announcements to remind you and other customers how to travel safely including promoting the use of face coverings and maintaining distance between yourself and others.

We have introduced one way systems at some stations so please allow a little extra time to make your train.

Social distancing means that we have had to close our waiting rooms and first class lounges for the time being and third party retailers may not be open. Please consider bringing refreshments with you as it may not be possible to buy them at the station or on board the train.

In order to reduce transmission of the virus, a small number of our toilets have been closed. Toliets at Mansfield, Boston, Sleaford, Spalding, Newark Castle, Stamford, Narborough and Oakham are closed. At Lincoln and Skegness, the main toilets are closed but the disabled toilets remain available. At Nottingham, the toilets on the Southern Concourse are closed but all others at the station remain open.

Stations not listed above have normal facilities available. You can check what facilities are 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.

Ticket office closures (until further notice):

Mansfield
Newark Castle
Oakham

New ticket office opening hours:

Station Monday to Friday Saturday Sunday
Alfreton 0645 - 1300 0645 - 1300 Closed
Beeston 0700 - 1700 0700 - 1700 1000 - 1700
Burton-on-Trent 0610 - 1600 0610 - 1600 Closed
Chesterfield 0515 - 1730 0630 - 1730 0830 - 1730
Derby 0600 - 2000 0600 - 2000 0800 - 2000
Leicester 0615 - 2115 0615 - 2115 0715 - 2115
Long Eaton 0605 -1600 0605 - 1600 Closed
Nottingham 0600 - 2000 0600 - 2000 0715 - 2000
Sheffield 0500 - 2100 0500 - 2100 0730 - 2100
Sleaford 0730 - 1330 0730 - 1330 Closed
Spalding 0630 - 1430 0630 - 1430 Closed

Any ticket offices not listed here are unchanged.

Much like at the station, we’ve enhanced our cleaning regimes, paying special attention to ‘high contrast areas’ such as hand rails and door open buttons.

Posters and announcements will remind you and other customers how to travel safely including promoting the use of mandatory face coverings on board.

To help with social distancing we have suspended our seat reservations, this will allow you to take a seat away from other customers. Please try to use a window seat rather than the aisles and leave table seats for families and groups travelling together.

We have had to make the difficult decision to suspend catering on board the train in Standard class which means it will not be possible to buy refreshments on board so please consider bringing something with you, especially for longer journeys or on hot days.

We have reintroduced a limited catering offer in First Class on weekdays. This will comprise of a morning and afternoon complimentary bag and a selection of hot drinks. With safety in mind the bag will be prepacked and sealed to reduce the handling of products and will be delivered to your seat by our on board hosts.

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. ou 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.

Our colleagues will do everything they can to minimise physical contact but will ensure we provide the same personal service you are used to.

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

The most important thing we can all do to help beat Coronavirus is to limit our travel and keep a safe distance from each other.

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.
  • Whilst we will still accept cash at our ticket offices if you have no other means of paying for your ticket, we strongly request you avoid using it wherever possible. To help, we have raised the limit on using our contactless payment options from £30 to £45
  • Ensure you have a face covering before setting off. The UK Government has mandated the use of face coverings on public transport in England. This means that you must wear a face covering when travelling with us unless medically exempt. You can find information on how to make a covering here.

  • 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.
  • When you are waiting for your train please use the full length of the platform and use all available doors when boarding. Stand well clear of the train as it arrives and let others safely leave the train before boarding.
  • If a service is busy, and therefore difficult to maintain social distancing on board, you should consider waiting for the next service. You will be permitted to travel on that service with your existing ticket.

  • If possible, try to avoid travelling during the busiest times of the day. Typically, this is before 9am and between 5 and 7pm. We're analysing customer travel patterns and have updated our Seat Finder Tool with the latest data so you can check how busy your journey will be based on data collated throughout the pandemic. An overview of other operator's quieter times can be found on National Rail Enquiries.
  • If you can travel by walking or cycling, please do so. The following links will help you to find suitable routes:
    National Cycle Network
    Derbyshire Cycle Routes
    Nottinghamshire Cycle Routes
    Leicestershire Cycle Routes

We know Coronavirus means many of our customers have to change their plans and we want to make that as easy as possible. So, we have introduced the following changes to our refunds and changes to travel plans terms and conditions.

As the majority of services are running and lockdown-related refunds have been processed, the relaxations highlighted below are being returned to their previous conditions from 7th September

You may still change the date of travel or cancel your ticket for a full refund with no Admin fee. If you have booked through our website and have not printed/collected your tickets you can cancel or change your ticket online by logging into your account.

This was to help people who booked their tickets before the pandemic. In the future, a fee of up to £10 will apply for tickets purchased after 7th September.

If you are unable to request your refund online you can do so by emailing us at [email protected] please be sure to include your booking reference and journey details your email. Please be aware that we are not currently able to process refunds or changes over the phone.

If you have already collected or printed your ticket see https://www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk/refund for information on how to cancel your ticket.

These arrangements only apply to tickets purchased through an East Midlands Railway retail channel – such as our website, or in our stations. If you have purchased a ticket from another supplier you will need to return to where or who you purchased the ticket from.

Advance tickets are non-refundable but you may still be able to change the date and time of your journey. An admin fee will apply.

Restrictions on Advance tickets will remain in place in the event of a localised lockdown.

We understand that many people are following Government advice and working from home. We are able to offer refunds on season tickets purchased online or at the station. Don't worry if you have already stopped commuting and have not yet applied for a refund, you can backdate your refund up to 56 days.

From 7th September it will no longer be possible to backdate a season ticket refund further than the date of application unless proof of illness is provided.

If you were ill and, consequently, unable to request a refund on your Season Ticket when you stopped using it, we will offer you a refund from the date your illness started, provided that you supply a medical certificate or other evidence of your illness. Please contact us at [email protected]

We can generally give you a refund if there is:

  • Seven days (or more) left on a Season Ticket valid between one and ten months
  • Three days (or more) left on a weekly Season Ticket
  • For an annual Season Ticket, there may not be any monetary value left if it is surrendered in the last couple of months of validity. Annual Season tickets have no refund value after 10 months and 12 days, although they are still valid for travel until the expiry date and you can continue to enjoy any Gold Card benefits along with it

You can use the handy calculation tool here to work out the value of your refund.

If you have less than the minimum remaining duration you will be unable to claim a refund, please do not send your season ticket to us. Refer to the National Rail Conditions of Travel for more information.

If you purchased your season ticket on our website, please email us at [email protected] for a refund. In the email please include the date of which you have surrendered your ticket to enable us to match it within our records.

If you purchased your season ticket from a ticket office we understand that you're most likely unable to return your ticket to the station to obtain a refund. Instead, please email us at [email protected] with a photograph or scan of your unused ticket, cut in half with Covid19 written across in ink and your photocard. Be sure to avoid writing over the price of the ticket. Please include a contact number should we need to get in touch. In the email please include the date of which you have surrendered your ticket to enable us to match it within our records. This will then be sent to the ticket office on your behalf who will process this for you.

We commit to process your refund within 28 days, right now the average timescale for you to receive your refund is within 10 days. There are a few factors which may affect the processing time, help us speed up the process by ensuring you follow the process above

Requests for refunds on travel prior to the 16th March will need to follow refund terms and conditions as detailed in the National Rail Conditions of Carriage

These arrangements only apply to tickets purchased through an East Midlands Railway retail channel – such as our website, or in our stations. If you have purchased a ticket from another supplier you will need to return to where or who you purchased the ticket from.

Car Park & Plus Bus Season Tickets are refundable, under the same conditions as rail travel Season Tickets.

If you have a Rail Travel Voucher which expires between 17th March and 16th September 2020 it can be extended by 6 Months. You don't need to do anything right now, hold on to your voucher to use at a later date.

All train companies are working together to understand if it is possible to extend expired railcards. More information will be available soon.

At taxi ranks try to keep your distance from people outside your household, where possible. Public Health England recommends keeping distance from others, where possible.

Taxi and private hire vehicle (for example minicab) operators are likely to have put in place new measures to help with social distancing. When travelling in taxis or private hire vehicles follow the advice of the driver. For example, you may be asked to sit in the back left hand seat if travelling alone. You may want to check with your taxi operator before travelling if they have put any additional measures in place.

If you need to be near other people you should avoid physical contact, try to face away from other people, and keep the time you spend near other people as short as possible. Be aware of the surfaces you or others touch.

You should wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. Take care to use face coverings properly.

When finishing your journey, we recommend you:

  • follow local guidance
  • wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands as soon as possible.

Page last updated: 21st September 2020