Can I travel with Northern?
If you're travelling, travel safely. Please check the latest national travel restrictions prior to your journey.
To travel with us, you must wear a face covering on board the train and in stations (unless a medical condition or disability prevents you) and please don’t travel if you are showing any coronavirus symptoms.
Can I use a train if I have Coronavirus?
No. If you have been diagnosed with Coronavirus or are showing symptoms, you should follow the advice from the NHS.
Can I buy tickets with cash?
What should I do if my train has been cancelled?
If you where unable to travel with us or did not complete your journey by train due to disruption or cancellations you could be entitled to a full or partial refund. This will depend on your circumstances and ticket type
What are Northern doing to maximise social distancing at stations?
We have put a number of measures in place at our stations to remind customers of the need to keep socially distanced, where possible. These measure include markers on the floor, posters, and audio messages. At stations, we have additional social distancing measures in place, such as capacity restrictions and floor markers. At some stations, access to certain areas – such as waiting rooms – is restricted where we believe social distancing is not possible.
What are Northern doing to maximise social distancing on trains?
To help customers stay socially distanced, where possible, we have marked some seats on our trains and at stations as ‘Out of Use’ and laid tape to enable on-board staff to conduct their duties. As well as this we are using audio messages and have a series of notices displayed on our on-board digital screens.
What can I do to make sure I am social distancing on trains?
We have a number of measures in place on our trains to help customers socially distance, where possible. Some of our trains have seats marked as out of service – where they are in place, these restrictions should be followed. Where they are not in place, customers should do their best to observe the following rules, where possible;
Sit at a window seat
Leave at least two rows vacant between you and other passengers
Avoid facing other passengers not in your travel group
Use alternate sides of the train
Try to adhere to social distancing rules when getting on and off the train.
What happens if the train I want to travel on is already full?
Customers who choose to travel should do everything possible to maintain social distancing where possible. If a train is already busy when it arrives at a station, and there is nowhere to sit safely, customers should wait for the next service that is safe to board. Northern understands this may be frustrating, however social distancing restrictions means we are still currently running services with a reduction in capacity. If you have an Advanced Ticket and your service is full, please speak with the conductor, we will consider instances on a case by case basis.
Can you tell me how busy my train will be?
Unfortunately we are unable to show this information at the moment.
Is catering available on your services?
No, catering is not available on our trains at the moment.
Are toilets still available on trains and stations?
Toilets are available on-board our trains and at stations, where facilities exist
Is hand sanitiser available at stations and on trains?
On-board our trains and at stations, where facilities exist, there is soap and water available in our toilets for customers to follow NHS advice to wash their hands for 20 seconds. Hand sanitiser will not be provided on stations or on trains – where possible customers should carry their own.
What additional cleaning is being carried out?
We have a robust cleaning regime and employ more than 600 dedicated cleaning staff across the north of England who, at the moment, are supported by colleagues from elsewhere in the business. Every carriage that has been in service is given a thorough clean at the end of the night before being sent out the next day. We also have staff at stations who clear litter from our trains, clean surfaces, all touchpoints and toilets throughout the day to help keep them in the best possible condition for passengers.
We have started rolling out the use of Zoono, a long lasting, antimicrobial coating that bonds to surfaces, across our trains and at stations. This is understood to kill Coronavirus on contact.
How do you ensure there is enough fresh air on the train?
The majority of our trains are fitted with air conditioning which regularly circulates fresh air through the carriages.
On trains without this feature, we ask customers to keep windows open where appropriate. As our trains stop at stations frequently on journeys, the opening and closing of doors also helps with the circulation of fresh air through carriages.
Do I need to reserve a seat to travel on Northern services?
No, seat reservations are not available on our services and are not required to travel.
Where possible, please maintain physical distancing. We can't guarantee physical distancing during your journey so to help with this, you should not board the train if you think it is too full
Have the opening times changed at my local station?
Some stations are now offering slightly different opening times to what you may be used to. Check before you travel on our station pages for up to date station opening times and information
What if I cannot board the last service of the day?
Where possible try to not rely on the last service of the day. We will consider instances on a case by case basis. Customers left in an unstaffed station should call 0800 138 5560 and speak to a member of our customer experience team.
When is the best time to travel and are there any time to avoid?
Our trains tend to be busiest between 07:00-09:00 and 16:00-18:00, so where possible try and vary your journey times to avoid crowding.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, customer travel patterns have changed and we are still monitoring what services are busy at what time. Customers should allow extra time for journeys, and buy tickets online, via the mobile app, or on smartcards. Customers should, where possible, avoid planning to travel on the last services of the day.
Why have the timetables changed?
In response to the announcement of a third national lockdown, we – alongside other train operators amended our timetables as part of an ongoing process to deliver a reliable and stable service for those customers who need to travel. The timetable will next change on May 18 2021 as part of the standard industry change.
How long will this timetable last?
The timetables (from 18 Jan 2021) will be used until 18 May 2021. Please always check your journey before you travel.
Do I need to wear a face covering on the train and in stations?
Yes, you will need to wear a face covering on our trains and in stations. Some people have exceptions from wearing face coverings, including children under 11, people with breathing difficulties and those with conditions or disabilities that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering. For further information, please see current government guidance here.
To find out how to make your own face covering click here.
What is a face covering?
At its very simplest, a face covering is something that covers your mouth and your nose, that minimises your ability to touch your face. Surgical facemasks, scarfs, homemade masks or material wraps are all perfectly acceptable. Remember that face coverings are additional measures to help you and those around you keep healthy, along with washing your hands and social distancing. Take a look at the government’s advice on face coverings if you are unsure about what to wear.
Will Northern provide a face mask for my journey?
No, please bring your own face covering.
Why are face coverings now compulsory?
Alongside social distancing, wearing a face covering helps make travelling by public transport safer for everyone during the coronavirus pandemic as it reduces the risk of onward transmission. You are helping to protect others by wearing a covering. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has identified that using face coverings [when travelling by public transport] can provide some small additional protection to fellow passengers and can help people to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus if they are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.
What if I can’t wear a face covering for medical reasons or due to a disability?
You can still use public transport. We understand that not every disability is visible and will treat you with respect and offer the assistance you require. If you need any additional support, please let a member of staff, on the platform or the train, know about your issue and they’ll make sure you’re able to travel safely
How will this be enforced?
We expect our passengers will understand that these restrictions are in place for the safety of everyone. If you aren't wearing a face covering on board a train or at a station, you will be may be reminded by staff and British Transport Police, about the current regulations. If a you refuse to wear a face covering, you could be issued with a fixed penalty notice and have to pay a fine.
The penalty for failing to wear a face covering will now be £200 for a first offence, doubling each time to a maximum fine of £6,400. British Transport Police also have the authority to refuse travel if necessary.
What’s the legal basis for this?
These regulations are being brought in through the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984.
What should I do if I’m sitting in a carriage with someone who isn’t wearing a face covering?
There will be some staff and customers who will not be expected to wear a face covering due to health reasons. We expect that the vast majority of our passengers will want to follow the new government guidelines to keep themselves and others safe. Regardless of whether someone is wearing a covering, you should keep a safe distance from others where possible on board our trains or at stations.
Some of our Northern colleagues may have reasons not to be wearing a face covering and some may choose to wear a badge explaining that they are an exception. Please respect our staff and your fellow passengers who may not be able to wear a face covering.
We are asking all our customers not to challenge fellow passengers who aren’t wearing a face covering. They may have a valid reason for not wearing one, including hidden conditions that mean they are an exception.
If I have any concerns linked to face coverings who should I talk to?
If you have any concerns, please speak to a member of our team who will be happy to help. Please bear in mind, some people may not have to wear a face covering due to a hidden disability.
If face coverings are compulsory, do train operators have to supply them, or at least have them for sale, before they board?
No, please bring your own face covering. We are unable to supply face coverings to customers but have provided our staff with them, so please remember your own if you are travelling with us. Some larger stations may have vending machines where you can buy a face covering, however it is very important that plan in advance and bring your own.
Do children need to wear face coverings?
Children under 11 are not required to wear face coverings.
I have a hearing impairment and I rely on lip reading to understand what someone is saying, how will I be able to travel comfortably and communicate with your team?
We understand how challenging face coverings can make communicating with our staff when you have a hearing impairment. To help to overcome any problems you may have, our team have been asked to ensure they have a pen and paper as an alternative way of communicating.
I am in one of the groups that is exempt from wearing a face covering, how can I prove it when I travel?
An exemption card has been produced that can be printed or downloaded here and carried with you when you travel anywhere on the UK network. It is there for your peace of mind and by no means a requirement of travel.
I wear a sunflower lanyard to identify that I have a non-visible disability, will your staff recognise this and understand my reason for not wearing a face covering?
Here at Northern we have briefed our staff to recognise the Sunflower Lanyard scheme, understand its meaning and offer help, where appropriate, if they see someone wearing one.
Will you be checking customers' temperature before they travel?
We have no plans to check customers’ temperature, but please do not travel if you have a high temperature.
What do rail staff do to make sure people wear face coverings on trains?
Rail staff engage and educate customers about the mandatory use of face coverings when they travel by train and encourage people to wear them. The vast majority of people do the right thing and help protect others by bringing and wearing a face covering while in stations and on trains. Unless they have a good reason, those that don’t wear a face covering could receive a fine from the British Transport Police.
Why are people allowed on my trains without a face covering?
Some people may not be able to wear a face covering due to medical conditions which may not always be apparent. Please do not confront other passengers. Anyone that isn’t exempt from wearing a face covering can get a fine from the police.
Who can I speak to if I have a question that hasn’t been covered here?
Our Customer Experience Centre will be happy to help with any queries you may have, they can be contacted on 0800 200 6060. You can review the list of people who don’t need to wear a face covering here.
Can I refund my ticket?
Normal refund procedures apply click here for more information.
My travel plans were affected by a the national and/or local lockdown, can I get a refund?
Yes, however depending on when you bought your ticket normal refund procedures may apply. You can find more information about refunding tickets here. If you chose not travel, a £10.00 administration charge is applicable per ticket as per the National Conditions Of Carriage. Advance tickets are non-refundable.
Can I refund my season ticket?
Normal refund procedures now apply. Click here for more information. You can use the National Rail Season Ticket Refund Calculator to get an estimate of how much you’ll receive for an annual or custom length (longer than one month) National Rail Season Ticket or Travelcard. The exact amount you receive from the refund may vary depending on the final calculation of the refund application and may not be applicable to other types of Season Tickets such as car parks or PlusBus.
Can I refund my car park season ticket?
If you require a refund on your car park season ticket, please make contact with the company who the ticket was purchased from. You will then receive confirmation of the amount to be refund, and the process to be followed.
Can I refund my PlusBus season ticket?
You can claim a refund for an unused PlusBus season ticket, from us, if the ticket has been sold to you by Northern. If you bought the ticket from another service provider you will need to contact them directly for a refund. Tickets can be backdated 56 days from the date of refund request, if unused.
How do I get a refund if I've booked a Northern ticket through a third party retailer like the Trainline?
If you have bought a ticket from a third party retailer or another train operating company, please visit their website and check their updated refund policy. We are only able to process refunds on tickets that have been purchased directly from us.
Will I receive a refund or extension for my Railcard?
Northern has no control over Railcard policy, which is administered by the Department for Transport. This matter is currently under consideration by DfT, and we hope to bring customers more news on this shortly.
What will happen to my travel vouchers if I haven't been able to use them during coronavirus?
Rail Travel Vouchers which have expired or are due to expire between 20 October 2020 and 30 June 2021 will get an additional 6 months after their original expiry date, for customers to redeem them, to recognise the fact that most passengers had been unable to use them during the second and third national lockdowns.
I've got an advanced ticket for a train that is no longer running (due to the 18 Jan timetable change - what should I do?)
If you already have an advanced ticket for a service that is no longer running due to the timetable change (18 Jan 2021) you may change or refund your ticket free of charge. To return or change your ticket, please contact our Customer Experience Centre on 0800 200 6060. More details about refunds can be found on our refunds and compensation page here.
Take a look at our dedicated Passenger Assistance page here, for more information on how we can help you at the station and on trains.
Is it still possible to book assistance on and off the train?
Our passenger assistance service (inculding Turn Up & Go) is available as usual during the COVID-19 pandemic. Passenger Assistance can still be booked in the usual way through our team, they can be contacted on 0800 138 5560 (Text Relay 18001 0800 138 5560).
Are there still priority seats available on the train?
We have ensured that several priority seats have been retained, as with all seating, numbers are reduced but the seats are easily identified.
Are waiting rooms still available at stations?
Our waiting rooms are open at stations where social distancing and government restrictions allow. Please be aware other limitations may be in place in these areas. Some of our stations may still be unable to open waiting rooms at this moment in time. We are reviewing the situation regularly.
Assisting you at the station
My station usually has toilets available, will these still be open?
Toilets will remain open and should have adequate hand washing facilities, if you notice that we are running low on supplies, please let us know.
How will I be kept safe while being assisted?
Northern colleagues may need to carry out assistance in a slightly different way, to help keep customers protected during the current coronavirus outbreak. Rest assured we will do everything possible to ensure you reach your destination swiftly and safely.
Our staff are issued with masks and will wear them when providing assistance as well as washing or sanitising their hands before the assistance is carried out.
There may be other precautions our station or train staff take when providing assistance, such as;
- not travelling with customers in small lifts.
- wiping down the handles of a wheelchair before and after use
- avoiding ‘skin-to-skin’ contact if guiding someone with a visual impairment
- keeping a safe distance away from passengers, where possible, whilst waiting for the train to arrive.
Our Passenger Assistance service (including Turn Up & Go) is available as usual during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Passenger Assistance team are on hand to discuss and plan your journey- where possible we recommend booking assistance in advance by calling us on 0800 138 5560 (Text Relay 18001 0800 138 5560).
Our team are available 6am to 11pm, 7 days a week (excluding Christmas Day). We recommend booking assistance six hours in advance for same day travel or by 2300 the day before travel.
If I book passenger assistance, will the conductor and/or platform staff still help me on and off the train?
Our team will be happy to assist you in your journey, please consider that services will have fewer seats available and allow longer for your journey just in case the train you are planning to travel on does not have space available.
This page was last reviewed on: 25/03/21