THE managing director of Great Western Railway has reassured passengers and offered safety advice for people travelling by train this summer.

GWR is running more trains and carriages to to give passengers more room on reduced-capacity journeys, extra cleaning of trains and stations, adding hand sanitiser to platforms, and more staff being on hand to provide information.

Customers are being asked to plan ahead by buying a ticket online, travel at quieter times where possible, wear a face mask unless exempt from the rule, wash their hands, carry hand sanitiser, pay by contactless, and maintain social distancing.

Passengers with coronavirus symptoms should not travel. Those with hidden disabilities or other reasons not to cover their face should wear a sunflower lanyard.

Interim MD Matthew Golton said: "We understand the importance of rail to restarting the economy and providing a welcome boost to the communities we serve, and the rail industry is working hard to make sure we deliver a robust, reliable service that is as safe as possible.

"It continues to be really important to us that we rebuild your confidence that when you travel with us you will find the space to travel.

"We are keen to increase the number of leisure travellers exploring the great attractions across the Great Western network, supporting the communities we serve.

"The GWR team is looking at the future and how can we work together to do things differently so tomorrow we are all stronger, and in the best place possible to help revitalise the economies we serve.

"We have confirmed plans to support the return to school in September. Many of the services that are heavily used by schools and colleges are already operational, and where they are not, we intend to bring them back into service before September 2, so that we are ready for students and pupils when they need us.  

"Through the summer we’re expecting trains to and from the south west and the south coast to be increasingly busy and we have re-introduced a significant number of services to cater for this increasing demand, for local and long-distance travellers, as well as continuing to operate a ‘counted places’ system to restrict the number of reservations available on any one train.

"We can see the pandemic has changed our customer landscape. Our research shows that, for now, many businesses have accepted the new normal and far more people will continue to choose to work from home and will want more flexible tickets to marry with this."

To adapt to this change, GWR proposed two new products to the Department for Transport: a three-in-seven and a 12-in-28 day season ticket, which it hopes to be able to take forward.