Posted 15th June 2020 | 5 Comments

Face coverings become mandatory aboard English trains

PASSENGERS on trains and trams in England must wear face coverings from today, at the risk of a £100 fine if they fail to comply.

The Department for Transport said more than 3,000 extra staff will be on duty to advise and help passengers.

Although service levels are being gradually increased to add capacity, the DfT emphasised that ‘the advice is clear that people should continue to avoid taking public transport where possible’.

Face coverings for people using trains and other public transport remain strongly recommended in the rest of the United Kingdom, but they are not mandatory and there are no penalties for ignoring the advice.

The English rules also apply on all other forms of public transport, such as buses and ferries.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has been considering making coverings compulsory on Transport for London services since at least 21 May and was reported to be pressing for a nationwide law, but the new English regulations cover all rail, bus and other services from today, including the London Underground.

Some train operators have been reinforcing the message by putting ‘masks’ on some of their more high profile trains. Avanti West Coast is applying ‘face mask’ designs on some of its Pendolinos at Longsight depot in Manchester, and Great Western Railway is unveiling a ’masked’ Intercity Express at Bristol Temple Meads today.

Meanwhile, as ‘non-essential’ shops start to reopen from today speculation continues that Boris Johnson is considering halving the social distance required from two to one metres. This already applies in a number of other countries, and there are fears that maintaining the two-metre rule could cause more serious damage to the economy. Medical experts have differing views but the government’s scientific advisers are reported to be urging caution, although the World Health Organisation describes one metre as the ‘minimum’ needed to make cross-infection unlikely.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Raymond Parry, Birmingham

    Regarding the comments on deaf people and the taking of refreshments, the actual government regulations make provision for these and several other dispensations.

  • Jez Milton, Manchester

    EasyJet has resumed domestic flights, including Gatwick to Glasgow, so the handful of passengers crossing the Scottish border by rail last week, will be even lower now.

    How much longer can this go on? The bailouts to airlines could have been contingent on them not resuming flights competing with rail. Taxpayers are effectively now subsidising flights and empty trains, competing with each other.

    The plug has to be pulled and sadly that requires the rail timetable to be chopped right back with many lines mothballed until we have a cv19 vaccine. Divert the money being thrown at running empty trains into social care and improving provision for cyclists.

  • Neil Palmer, Waterloo

    So will passengers without masks travelling from Glasgow to London be fined as soon as the pass south of Gretna?

  • Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex

    So long distance rail users have replaced silver service catering to not even being able to take bread and water sometimes for several hours. !

    While it seems deaf people are no longer able to use lip reading for communication!

    Surely these restrictions should have been introduced at tge time of lockdown .

  • Alan Cook, Fareham

    I feel there is condradictory advice to Passengers/Staff. At the top you state risking 100.00p fine, failing to comply. 3rd paragraph down, you state its not mandatory in England and No Penalties. which is it please?
    [Look again. There is no contradiction. The fourth paragraph reads: 'Face coverings for people using trains and other public transport remain strongly recommended in the rest of the United Kingdom, but they are not mandatory and there are no penalties for ignoring the advice.' The rest of the United Kingdom, other than England.--Ed.]