Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce News

LNER COVID-19 Update

3 Jul 2020 by Matthew Trigg

For LNER, the safety of our customers and our people will always be our top priority.

Building on our successful transition to reservation-only services, we wanted to provide you with a further update on some of the things we are doing to give people confidence that it is safe to travel.

Below you will find updates on:

  • Increased weekday services from Monday
  • Face coverings and local suppliers
  • LNER’s latest National Rail Passenger Survey results
  • The Government’s announcement about the digital railway on the East Coast Main Line
  • Staff volunteering and £200,000 raised for suicide prevention 
  • The anniversary of our Sunflower lanyards scheme

If there is anything else you would like to hear about from us please just let the team know via PublicAffairs@LNER.co.uk

Increased weekday services from Monday

As part of our gradual return to normal service levels to support increasing customer demand for long-distance train travel, we will be adding further weekday services from Monday 6 July. This will take us to around 75 per cent of our usual weekday timetable, and includes most of our peak services, with weekend services remaining at around 65 per cent for the time-being.

This uplift will also see us reintroduce all our weekday Sunderland, Harrogate, Skipton and Bradford services, as well as the extra Bradford return service we had planned to first introduce in May. Our timetables can be downloaded here.

We are looking to reintroduce additional Aberdeen services and our Inverness services as soon as possible. Running these services relies on lodging and hospitality being available for overnight stays for our crews, and we continue to explore options to enable this, aligned to current Scottish Government guidance.

Face coverings and local suppliers

With face coverings mandatory for most customers on public transport, we are seeing good levels of use. To increase the wearing of face coverings further, and also support local businesses who are making them, we have two favours to ask:

  1. To encourage customers to wear a face covering, we’d love to see you wearing your design. Tweet us @LNER and use #TrainFace to show us your covering in action. We’ll be sharing some of our favourites.
  2. If you know of local businesses based near any of our stations who are making them and would value being included on our dedicated face coverings webpage, please let us know.

It is also worth highlighting that there are exemptions for children under 11 in England and children under five in Scotland and those with a health reason or other reasonable excuse.

In addition to wearing face coverings, we continue to encourage customers to maintain good social distancing practice, regularly wash their hands and use hand sanitiser, as well as to reserve a seat on LNER services – as our services are reservation only. Anyone who is feeling unwell should not be travelling.

Strong passenger survey result

Building on the UK Government’s announcement last week that LNER has been granted a new Direct Award to run intercity rail services for the next three to five years, we are pleased to report that LNER is amongst the three top scoring long-distance rail operators as part of the latest National Rail Passenger Survey results released today.

LNER secured 91 per cent for overall passenger satisfaction as part of the independent survey by Transport Focus. This is the third consecutive increase for LNER and represents a two-point increase compared to last year. We have seen specific increases in scores relating to the cleanliness of trains, car park facilities and provision of information to customers. The survey was undertaken between 27 January and 16 March.

Digital railway coming to the East Coast Main Line

Last week saw the announcement of £350 million in new investment to install state-of-the art electronic signalling designed to cut journey times and reduce delays on our route. The use of ‘in-cab’ system, taking advantage of the capabilities of our new Azuma trains, will mean an end to conventional signalling at the side of track between London King’s Cross and Stoke Tunnel in Lincolnshire, ensuring more travellers reach their destinations on time. It is envisaged to be the beginning of the delivery of the digital railway on our whole route.

Staff volunteering and £200,000 raised for suicide prevention 

We have provided previous updates about our many colleagues across our route who have been volunteering as the LNER Reserves to support local communities during Covid-19 lockdown.

Our colleagues have now completed more than 5,000 volunteering hours, supporting 12,000 beneficiaries through foodbanks, anti-loneliness initiatives, the NHS, and many more groups. This has delivered a social value of more than £80,000, with this figure continuing to grow day on day.

The efforts of our people in recent weeks have also seen us pass the £200,000 mark for funds raised for our charity partner, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). Money raised through fitness and other challenges is combined with Delay Repay contributions from our customers, who have the option to donate their compensation for a delayed service.

Anniversary of Sunflower lanyards

As you may be aware, 12 months ago we launched our Sunflower lanyard initiative to provide those who have hidden disabilities with an additional way to indicate to our staff that they would like to be offered some help. Since its launch, we have given out more than 10,000 lanyards and several other train companies have followed suit, either giving out the lanyards themselves or training staff to recognise the scheme.

If you have any questions about LNER including other aspects of our response to COVID-19, please let us know.

We can be contacted via PublicAffairs@LNER.co.uk

The latest coronavirus information can be found on the dedicated page on our website lner.co.uk/travel-information/coronavirus-travel-information/ and Twitter @LNER

Questions relating to tickets and personal travel should continue to be directed to our Customer Service Team.