Coronavirus information - Travel with confidence
Last updated: Face Covering New Advice 29th November 2021
From the 30th November you must wear face coverings at all points of your journey – from when you enter the station to when you exit the station at your destination unless you are exempt. For information on what exceptions are in place click here. If you do wish to use an exemption card, our downloadable card is available here. Using this card or any other card is not mandatory
As the situation is changing regularly, we strongly advise that you always check before you travel. Information on rail services throughout the country is available on the National Rail website and the latest advice on Coronavirus is available from the NHS website, and from the government website.
Information to support your journey
What else should I do when I travel?
Check before you travel
Some trains may be affected by planned engineering works
Buy tickets online or use contactless where possible
See below for advice on buying a ticket
Wash your hands before and after you travel
We recommend you bring sanitiser with you when travelling
Travel with confidence
To protect yourself and others, you must wear a face covering unless exempt. Fines may apply
Please follow our colleagues advice to stay safe
Be considerate of others and respect priority seating and wheelchair spaces
Please place your litter in the bins provided
This will help our staff keep the stations and trains sanitised and clean
What are we doing to make your journey safer?
- We have employed additional staff to increase the amount of cleaning taking place overnight at all our depots
- We are using new cleaning products proven to help stop the spread of Coronavirus
- Trains are being checked and cleaned more regularly throughout the day. Measures are being taken to ensure all trains have water, soap and paper available in toilets before they start every journey. We also have measures in place to deep clean specific locations if required
- We have stepped up cleaning regimes to ensure that all surfaces including handrails, ticket machine touch-screens and door handles are kept clean at all stations, with particular focus on our busiest locations
- Audio and visual announcements have been made at our stations to advise of any on-the-day crowding
At the station
We aim to keep facilities available at stations, however enclosed areas remain closed at the following locations:
- Beckenham Hill
- Crofton Park
- Epsom (only Platform 1 and 2 closed)
- Eridge Finsbury Park (only platform 7 and 8 open)
- Gatwick Airport (only First Class Lounge closed)
- Haywards Heath (only Platform 1 closed)
- Horsham (only Platform 1 and 2 closed)
- Letchworth Garden City (only Platform 1 closed)
- Royston (Only Platform 2 closed)
- St Albans (only Platform 2 closed)
- Streatham Hill
- Winchmore Hill
We may need to introduce one-way systems and separate entrances/exits at some locations. A list of stations where changes have been made is available below, please allow more time at these locations if the station becomes particularly busy. We will provide information on any current crowding on our service updates page however you should leave extra time at these locations at all times. In busy times we may also introduce queuing systems.
- Battersea Park
- City Thameslink
- Clapham Junction
- Denmark Hill
- Downham Market
- Elephant & Castle
- Elstree & Borehamwood
- Kentish Town
- Kings Lynn
- London St Pancras International
- Loughborough Junction
- Luton Airport Parkway
- St Albans City
- St Neots
- West Hampstead Thameslink
On the train
Newer trains have heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems on board so that a comfortable temperature that's set to 21 degrees can be maintained inside the carriages. The system achieves this by taking a regular flow of fresh air in from outside and balancing it with recirculated air drawn through filters. The air then passes over kit called an 'evaporator' which removes moisture during this process.
The systems are designed to replace the air in a carriage typically every 5-6 minutes which is dependent on temperature conditions on board and outside. Our train doors open at stations across the route, some services more frequently than others and this action will naturally provide an input of fresh air as well.
We work with train manufacturers to ensure we are applying the very latest recommendations to the systems’ cleaning regime and filter replacement during regular maintenance at our train depots.
Our engineers are working with others in the industry, across the UK and Europe, to ensure best practice is used in our systems and in the deep cleaning of our carriages, supporting a safe onboard environment for our passengers.
Currently our normal cycle restrictions apply. Please check here for details:
Please be considerate to other customers if you are travelling with a bike.
Wheelchair spaces must be kept clear.
Our front-line teams are there to help you make your journey safely. Please don’t hesitate to ask for assistance whenever needed.
Our Assisted Travel team are there to help you plan and we recommend booking assistance whenever possible. Of course, we are still providing assistance for passengers who haven’t been able to pre-book.
Familiarise yourself with general information on this page, including advice on stations where queuing systems and amended access points may be in place.
Our staff will work with you to maintain social distancing wherever possible. They may wipe down the handle of your wheelchair for their own safety.
While we recommend that our staff and customers wear a face covering if possible we recognise that not all customers are able to use a face covering. Our staff also know that face coverings can present communication difficulties for some people e.g. those who rely on lip reading. If necessary, they will be happy to write key information down for you. You may also find our Communication Guide or Travel Support card handy when communicating with you during your journey.
When waiting, our staff will assist you to a safe and quiet place away from other passengers and will ask other passengers to maintain social distancing whilst you are waiting.
When using lifts, staff supporting you may use the stairs and will join you at the other end rather than travel in the same lift with you.
When assisting you onto the train, we will check that the wheelchair space or priority seat is free and will ask customers to move if necessary, to maintain social distancing.
For further information on assisted travel and how to book please click the links below:
If you do need to travel, where possible, please avoid buying your ticket from a ticket office or ticket machine. However, if you can only use the ticket office/machine you can pay by card or cash, with card our preferred payment option.
- If you already have a Key Smartcard, advice on how to use it effectively can be found here. If you order a card it will be sent to your home, where you can buy and renew your season ticket online. When you are ready to travel, simply tap the Key Smartcard at your chosen station to collect your ticket. If you are not travelling as frequently as before, keyGo is our pay as you go option. Find out more here.
- Book your ticket online to allow you to make use of our money back guarantee on most ticket types and ensure that any changes or refunds you need can be made online. Visit our money-back guarantee pages on Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern or Thameslink.
- Use contactless/Oyster on routes it is accepted. Check our route map for full details
If you need to visit our ticket offices, please practise social distancing.
Ticket machines will remain available at all locations, but a queuing system may be in place with some machines taken out of service to maintain social distancing.
We understand that you may need to change your travel plans as a result of changing COVID restrictions.
Whether you are looking to change the date of your journey or get a refund, we have put the following information together to help you book with confidence.
If you have a ticket on departure booking and you have not collected your ticket, please apply for a refund via the online refund form.
The information is based on the different ticket types in place, if you hold a paper ticket and you’re not sure what type of ticket you have, please check the information printed on the orange stripe in the top left corner of the ticket for one of the following.
Travel on a different date
You can change the date of travel without paying a change of journey fee, so long as you request the change before the date of your original journey.
If you bought your ticket from us and no longer want to travel
All tickets sold from Monday 7th September 2020:
We can refund your ticket less a £10 admin fee, up to a maximum of 28 days from the expiry date of the ticket, please see our refunds process for full details.
If you bought your ticket from another retailer or train company, you will need to contact them to request your refund.
Advance tickets under normal circumstances attract a fee for changing to a different service or date and are not refundable.
However, given the current situation we have introduced the following temporary changes:
If you still want to travel but on a different day:
You can change the time or date of travel at any National Rail Ticket Office, before the departure of the first reserved train printed on your ticket.
Until 18:00 on Friday 31st December 2021:
Changes made before 18:00 the day before you travel – you can change your ticket at any National Rail Ticket Office to travel on a different day, without being charged the £10 change of journey fee, but you will need to pay any difference between the fare you have already paid and the best available fare for the new journey
Whilst were not limiting the number of times you can do this, if you’re not sure when you will travel, you may prefer to exchange your ticket for a non-cashable voucher of the same value.
You will be able to use this voucher towards the cost of a future National Rail journey over the next 12 months, more information about how to apply for your voucher is below.
- Changes made from 18:00 the day before you travel until the departure of the first reserved train printed on your ticket – you’ll need to pay any difference between the fare you’ve already paid and the best available fare for your new journey, plus a £10 change of journey fee for each ticket changed.
After 18:00 the day before you travel, you’ll no longer be able to exchange these tickets for a non-cashable voucher
If you bought your ticket from us and no longer want to travel.
Whilst Advance tickets remain non-refundable, up to Friday 31st December 2021, we can exchange your ticket for a non-cashable voucher of the same value.
Your voucher will be valid for 12 months from the date of issue, allowing you to use them towards the cost of a future journey on the National Rail network.
If you bought your ticket from another retailer, you will need to contact them to request your voucher.
We cannot exchange any other tickets for a voucher.
If you bought your ticket from us and no longer want to travel:
Unexpired Season tickets and Flexi Season tickets can be refunded at any time.
We will calculate how much is refunded based on the value left on your ticket on the day you submit your Season ticket less a £10 admin fee for refund.
You can find out how much refund you are due by using this calculator:
Season ticket refund calculator
This refund can only be backdated with evidence that illness prevented you from travelling.
For more information, including if you require a refund due to sickness that prevented you from using a Season ticket, see the Season Ticket Conditions page.
If you bought your Season ticket or Flexi Season ticket from another train operator or retailer, you will need to contact them to request your refund.
Travel on a different date:
Please do not date your carnet ticket until you know for certain that you are going to travel, as it is not possible to amend the date of travel with these tickets once dated.
If you bought your ticket from us and no longer want to travel, we can refund both complete and partially used books of tickets, up to a maximum of 28 days from the expiry date of the tickets. Plus, we have waived the £10 admin fee. Please see our refunds process for tickets purchased after Monday 7th September 2020 here, for full details.
If you purchased your ticket online as a “ticket on departure” that you have not yet collected, its easiest to manage your refund or exchange is through your online account in most cases:
- Login to your account at Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern or Thameslink and go to ‘Manage my tickets / refund’ section.
- If you purchased your ticket as a Guest, please refer to your booking confirmation email for details of how to ‘Link your order to an account’
- For Smartcard tickets please use the online Key Smartcard refund form.
If you have an eTicket or paper ticket, or you are unable to process a refund via your on-line account, you should apply for a refund remotely using our online refund form at Thameslink, Southern, or Great Northern.
We aim to process all refunds within 20 working days.
We understand that receiving your refund is important and it will be processed as quickly as possible.
If you have not heard from us within 28 days of submitting a refund application, please get in touch and we will investigate your enquiry.
If you applied at a ticket office, please provide as much information as you can, including a copy of any paperwork issued by the ticket office. If you applied using the web form, or other online service, please quote your reference number.
You can apply for a non-cashable voucher for the value of your ticket, which will be valid for 12 months from the date of issue, for use as payment towards a new ticket.
If you bought your ticket from us:
If you have an e-ticket and bought it from us please use our Contact Us form by selecting the “Make an enquiry” option and “Refunds” subject. Include the following information:
- Booking reference of the e-ticket
- Full name
- Email address
- Telephone number
You will have a non-cashable travel eVoucher added to your online account within 14 days of receiving your request.
eVouchers can be used for tickets that are available from our website.
To use your eVoucher, you will see your voucher total in the delivery options screen once you have selected your ticket and you will have the option to use some or all of your voucher as payment in full or towards that ticket.
Please note that eVouchers cannot be exchanged for cash and are valid for 12 months from the day of issue.
Follow this link for the Contact Us form.
If you have bought a paper ticket, if you have not already done so, please print the ticket(s) and then send it in the post to the following freepost address:
Govia Thameslink Railway
Please include the following information:
- Full Name
- Postal address
- Email address
- Telephone number
If your ticket value is above £50 you may wish to use an enhanced Royal Mail service to do this. We cannot be responsible for any tickets lost in the post.
If you bought the ticket from another train company or retailer, even if the journey is on our network, you will need to contact them to apply for a voucher.
We know many of you have not been able to exchange your National Rail Vouchers, as you were following the Governments ‘stay at home’ advice.
Therefore, we will accept National Rail Vouchers at our Ticket Offices for payment towards the cost of your next rail journey, with an expiry date between the 20th October 2020 and 30th June 2021; for a maximum of 6 months from when they expired.
We cannot extend the validity of any Rail Travel Vouchers:
- That expired before the 20th October 2020
- Will expire on or after the 1st July 2021
We cannot replace any Rail Travel Vouchers that have been lost or destroyed.