How to travel home for Christmas safely

Monday 30th November 2020
Planning to go home for some festive fun with the family this year?

With the new guidelines on socialising announced, you might be starting to think about how and when you’re going to travel over Christmas. 

The only time our trains won’t be running will be on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, allowing you to easily reach your loved ones for the Christmas period – just remember to check our website for a full timetable before you travel. We’ve put various plans in place to help keep you safe, including an enhanced cleaning programme and reduced capacity on our trains to help with social distancing. We also have extra staff helping out at key locations during the festive period.

So, whether you’re catching up with loved ones, heading home to see close family, or joining two other households for five days over Christmas, we’re here to give you some tips on how to enjoy a smooth journey by rail this December.

TransPennine Express Train on bridge

First of all, plan your journey in advance

Trains are always typically busier around Christmas with people travelling home to see loved ones. Increased travel is also expected this year either side of the Christmas bubble period. With social distancing measures in place too, this means it’s really important to try and travel on quieter days and at quieter times of day if possible. Always plan ahead and give yourself more time than usual.

To make your journey as smooth as possible, book your tickets online before you travel or through our TPExpress app to reserve a seat.

Choosing an e-ticket means you can forget paper tickets and use your phone instead. There’s no need to queue at the station – simply book an e-ticket on the app, scan the code at the barrier and head straight to your platform.

Woman using TPEexpress App on mobile phone

Travel outside of peak times

If you’re flexible, try to travel outside of peak times when you go home for Christmas – peak times are before 10:00 and between 15:00 & 18:00. By avoiding travel at these times, you can help limit how many people are in the station, while also making sure those who use our trains to get to work can do so safely. 

Make sure you give yourself extra time before you travel

For a smooth journey, try to arrive for your train with plenty of time before departure. This will give you time to find your platform and your carriage and safely stow away any luggage. At the same time, with more people travelling, there might be more people waiting on the platform and in the station, so it’s a good idea to not spend extra time in the station unless strictly necessary.

The TPExpress app gives you real-time train information to help you plan when you should arrive. You can view live arrivals and departures or track exactly where your train is on its journey. For some of our trains, we’re also rolling out a feature which allows you to see how full each carriage is before you board. This makes it easier to find a seat or locate your seat reservation.

Woman wearing mask with suitcase on escalator

Check your journey details before you set off 

To help plan ahead, it’s also important to check your journey before you travel. While we’re continuing to run 80% of pre-COVID-19 services, this does mean your usual train may not be available. Our timetables also change on 14th December, so it’s always worth doublechecking well in advance before heading to the station.

Stay safe on board 

While you’ll no doubt be excited to be heading home, it’s still very important that you follow any rules or guidelines to help keep yourself and others safe. These include:

Wearing a face covering  – you must wear a face covering when travelling on public transport at the moment unless you are exempt.

Distancing from fellow customers – you should socially distance from people who aren’t within your household as much as possible during your journey. Avoid sitting next to others  and use the markings on platforms and outside ticket offices when queuing. Please choose your own seat onboard to ensure you feel safe in the context of social distancing. And where possible, leave the aisle seats clear to allow the onboard team to make their way through the train. 

Sanitising your hands – when you sit down at your seat, it’s a good idea to give your hands a quick clean with hand sanitiser. Please carry anti-viral hand sanitiser gel and always wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and hot water before and after travel. Hand sanitiser is also available at all our managed stations.

Woman wearing mask sitting on a TransPennine Express train

Last but not least, don’t travel if you have symptoms

One of the best ways to keep your fellow customers and any family safe this Christmas is to not travel at all if you think you might be ill. If you have possible COVID-19 symptoms before your journey, don’t go to the station. Instead, stay at home, isolate and get a test if you can. 

We’re working extra hard to keep you safe and ensure you have a wonderful time celebrating with your chosen Christmas bubble. You can also do your bit by following all the above advice. Keen to plan your journey now? Book your train tickets to travel home online or using the TPExpress app.

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