A look back at 2020: How we’ve been helping the North to keep travelling

Thursday 17th December 2020
At TransPennine Express, we have a lot to be proud of this past year.

Most of the things we’ve managed to achieve in 2020 have been focused around keeping you safe whenever you’ve used our trains and stations.
From enhanced cleaning procedures to safety accreditations, here’s a little look back at how we’ve been able to help with essential travel during the year just gone.

TransPennine Express train on a bridge

We kept you moving 

Throughout 2020, and especially during stricter lockdown measures, we ensured our trains continued to run so those who needed to make a journey were still able to.

While we may have reduced the overall number of our services, we made sure people who had to travel for essential reasons – whether that was because they were a key worker, studying or caring for a family member – were able to do so both safely and efficiently.

As well as maintaining a regular timetable of trains across our network, we also kept everyone safe by:
Following the government guidelines on mandatory face coverings.
Reducing the capacity of our trains to allow social distancing onboard.
Clearly marking out areas in the station and on the platform to help everyone easily maintain their distance when queuing at machines or waiting for trains.

Woman wearing face mask on TransPennine Express train

We increased our cleaning both onboard our trains and at our stations

During 2020 we implemented a hugely enhanced cleaning programme. We ramped up our normal cleaning procedures by 70% compared to pre-coronavirus times.

We invested £1.7m in this, which helped pay for things such as an effective anti-microbial cleaning treatment, extended cleaning hours at every TransPennine Express managed station and extra overnight sanitisation.

And you’ll also spot more toilet attendants at our larger stations. They’re there to make sure restrooms are kept squeaky clean at all times.

Cleaning trolley with cleaning supplies in a public bathroom

We gained “Good to Go” status

To give you extra peace of mind when you needed to travel by train this year, we applied for “Good to Go” accreditation. This is something that’s awarded by Visit Britain to businesses who are able to provide a safe service and have followed all the government coronavirus guidelines.

Our extra cleaning procedures helped us to qualify for the award alongside our other safety measures. Social distancing markings, face covering regulations and a reduction of capacity on all trains, also contributed to our “Good to Go” achievement.  

We hired nearly 60 new team members

As well as allowing us to swiftly launch our enhanced cleaning regime, we also showed support for local communities across the North by creating 57 brand new cleaning positions.

These roles were located in cities and towns across our network and allowed us to increase the cleaning capacity at a wide number of stations and onboard our trains.

TransPennine Express employee cleaning the train

It’s safe to say that we couldn’t have achieved any of the above without help from our amazing TransPennine Express colleagues. From train drivers, conductors and station teams on the frontline, to those working behind the scenes across the business, their dedication during a truly difficult time has allowed us to keep our services running safely and smoothly.

Here’s what they’ve got to say about working for TransPennine Express in 2020:

“So proud to be a Conductor with TransPennine Express. On the Hull route we’ve been running six carriage trains so plenty of room to be socially distant and the trains are constantly sanitised, probably the cleanest they have ever been.” - Ruth, Conductor

“Having started to work for TransPennine Express in the middle of the pandemic I don’t know any different. I have taken immense pride in ensuring that people with disabilities feel confident travelling in such an unusual time. Customers have said that travelling can be a really stressful experience with a disability, add to this a national pandemic and it’s understandable why many would want to avoid this at all costs. To see people responding to our campaigns around travelling with confidence, and the adaptations made to passenger assistance to keep our customers and our colleagues safe alongside the sunflower lanyards that have been picked up at our stations over the last few months is such a wonderful thing. I can only hope that this confidence continues to develop into the new year.” - Natasha, Accessibility and Integration Manager

“My family and I, unfortunately, lost my Dad to Covid-19, right at the start of lockdown, he was one of the first few dozen in Scotland to pass away. It was a very challenging time, no one knew what was happening or what was going to happen next. I received some great support from TransPennine Express, especially from my line manager John at this very difficult time, from offers from him and colleagues to help out in any way they could, it was very reassuring.  I very much appreciate everything that was offered. Advice, guidelines and rules etc seemed to change on almost a daily basis, but everyone just mucked in as a team to keep everything moving.” - Martin, Conductor

“In March 2020, we had to quickly move most of our learning online.  Normally we bring colleagues to central locations for in-person training, however with the lockdown, we couldn’t do that.  Over the last few months, lots of our colleagues have been willing to learn using video conferencing technology. This has been new for all of us, and I’m so proud to work alongside colleagues who are willing to try and do things differently, and especially those who have faced their digital fears and done it anyway. I feel like I’ve started a new job even though I’ve been at TransPennine Express for 16 years!” - Rich, Learning & Development Manager

“What better gift for us all than the prospect of a vaccine inspired, antibody infused return to glorious normality at some point in 2021. What has 2020 taught me? Don’t take life for granted. Enjoy the little things – a good cup of coffee, pretty scenery or a really good belly laugh that makes you forget yourself for a moment.” - Thomas, Customer Services Supervisor

TransPennine Express Train at a train station

After such a challenging year, we can’t wait until we’re able to welcome you back onboard. If you do need to travel soon, book your tickets in advance online or via our TPExpress app. Remember your face covering (unless exempt) and don’t travel if you think you could have coronavirus symptoms. 

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