Skip to main content

NUS Banner

You can now book Grand Central tickets up to six months in advance - Find out more

Students save 25% on Grand Central Advance tickets - Find out more

Arriva QTT

Buy tickets to anywhere in Great Britain

Page Title

FAQs - Travelling with Grand Central during COVID-19

Last updated - 02/02/2021

Before you travel

Advance tickets purchased for travel between November 7 and December 2 2020 , or between January 9 and March 26 2021 can be refunded without a fee. All customers can change their travel dates without any extra fee if they have bought their ticket on our website or app. Please contact the Booking Support Team on 0345 603 4852 (option 3, then option 2). Lines are open 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week.

If your journey is disrupted or cancelled prior to travel, you may be entitled to a full refund - please contact the Booking Support Team on the above number.

If you have purchased your ticket from another retailer, you will need to contact them in order to change your ticket.

Please see our page on latest seat availability for colour-coded information on which services we expect to be busier and those we expect to be quiet.

The 25% student discount is now once again running.

The 20% loyalty discount has been suspended.

16-25 Railcard holders can still get 33% off our cheapest tickets.

Any Rail Travel Voucher that has an expiry date between 17 March 2020 and 16 September 2020, may be accepted for a maximum of 6 months after the original expiry date e.g. an RTV that expires on 10 June 2020, may continue to be accepted up to and including 09 December 2020. There are two types of RTV in use;

  • Fixed value – mainly issued as a gesture of goodwill to customers, in £1, £5, £10 and £20 denominations
  • Variable value - issued as compensation for delays and can be for any value

Please contact the Customer Relations Team on 0345 603 4852 (option 3, then option 1). Lines are open 9am to 5pm, Monday - Friday. Alternatively you can contact us on social media via Facebook and Twitter.

You will not be permitted to board the train without a seat reservation.

If you make a seat reservation you will be allocated a specific seat and you should sit in your assigned seat. Please check that you have a seat reservation when you buy your ticket or contact us to add one to your booking. You will not be permitted to board the train without a seat reservation.

Reserved seats will be allocated in line with the latest advice on social distancing which means you may be seated separately. Whilst on board you may be able to change seats to sit closer together if the train is not busy. Our staff will be able to help you on board.

Grand Central service suspension, January - March 2021

Following the Government decision to re-introduce a national lockdown in England from January 5 2021, we have taken the decision to temporarily suspend our services from 9 January - 26 March 2021. For information on refund eligibility and claims, click here.

I have a ticket to travel on a cancelled service – can I amend my booking?

You can change your booking to an alternative date without any admin fee by contacting our customer service team on 0345 603 4852 (option 3, then option 2, 8am – 10pm, 7 days per week). To support social distancing and to ensure a safe number of customers can travel on each of our trains, we have implemented reservation-only travel across all Grand Central services, so you must have a seat reservation in order to board one of our trains. We strongly recommend calling our customer service team to reserve your seat. 

If you no longer wish you travel, you can claim a refund for your unused ticket(s).

We advise customers to book direct via our website or app, which will allow you to make your reservation during your purchase. You can also book seats via our Customer Relations team, on 0345 603 4852 (option 3, then option 1).

Seat reservations and train-specific Advance tickets are available for trains which are confirmed to run. Trains which are not yet confirmed will remain closed for reservations. If you have purchased a flexible ticket or have a Carnet ticket without a seat reservation, you must make a reservation on any Grand Central service you intend to travel on. You can do this by contacting our Customer Relations team on 0345 603 4852.

During your journey

Are customers required to wear a face covering?

Current Government advice as of February 2021 requires people to wear a face covering on all public transport, unless exempt*. Failure to wear a mask where no exemption is present may be punished by a fine of up to £6,400.

  • For specific government advice on face coverings and the latest rules, please see gov.uk advice.
  • For more information on how we are providing assistance in line with Government advice, please see the government website.

*Some people may not be able to wear a face covering, for example young children, people with breathing difficulties and people whose disabilities make it difficult for them to wear a face covering.

We recommend you bring your own face covering, in line with Government advice and you may also wish to bring hand sanitiser for your own use.

Each of our trains has mulitiple toilets with soap, running water and hand dryers so customers can travel safely and wash their hands on the go.

Yes. Cycle reservations should be made in advance giving at least 24 hours’ notice. You can reserve space by e-mailing Customer Relations or contacting us on Twitter or Facebook.

Under no circumstances should you be travelling if you are self-isolating.

The Safer Travel Guidance for Travellers, as provided by the Government, contains useful further information.

Please do NOT travel if you have symptoms of Coronavirus. If you feel unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature – you should avoid travelling and self-isolate for 14 days.

The Safer Travel Guidance for Travellers, as provided by the Government, contains useful further information.

It is your responsibility to evaluate whether or not you should be travelling.

Yes. If you do not have one you will be prevented from boarding the train. To make a seat reservation if your ticket does not include one, please contact the Customer Relations team on 0345 603 4852 (option 3, then option 1). Lines are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Alternatively you can contact us on social media via Facebook and Twitter.

Customers cannot select a specific seat at the point of booking. Seats are allocated by our booking systems according to availability and in line with Government advice - our system will automatically ensure seats are socially distanced - you can see our socially distanced seating plan here. You are asked to remain seated for the duration of your journey, and not to leave your seat unless necessary (for example, to use the on-board toilets).

We are asking all customers to make a seat reservation which means we can manage the number of people on board. We will publish information on our website and on Twitter which shows which trains are expected to be busier and which will be quieter.

The safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers is our absolute priority. We will be following the most up to date guidance from the Government on social distancing to ensure all customers and staff can feel confident to travel.

Grand Central is not currently accepting cash payments on our trains as we do not have the facilities to process these.

You must have a a seat reservation prior to boarding your Grand Central train.

We advise customers to book direct via our website or app and provide contact details, in order to ensure they receive the very latest updates and information about their journey.

On-board catering is unavailable on our services for the time being during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

We have taken every measure possible to provide you with a comfortable, socially distanced journey, including providing information on which services are expected to be busier, and requiring that all customers reserve their seats prior to travel.

If your train is too full to safely travel, we will communicate a course of action regarding onward travel on a case-by-case basis - please speak to a member of staff at the affected station.

Customers can change the date of travel if their plans change, without any additional fee, if they have bought their ticket on our website or app. Please contact the Booking Support Team on 0345 603 4852 (option 3, then option 2). Lines are open 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week.

If your journey has been affected by a national lockdown, you can find information on claiming refunds or changing your ticket for free here.

If you have purchased your ticket from another retailer, you will need to get in contact with them to discuss this.

We recognise the Sunflower Lanyard scheme for hidden disabilities and customers will not be challenged over lack of mask-wearing.

Please see the government advice on facemasks and penalties for noncompliance here.

Passenger and staff safety measures will include increased cleaning during the journey and overnight at depots, and protective equipment for staff. We will follow best practice to ensure customers and staff can feel confident to travel. By requiring all passengers to reserve their seats, we are able to maintain social distancing on board.

During current COVID-19 restrictions we are not able to run any onboard catering services, including in First-Class.

Because we are currently unable to provide a catering service, we advise you to bring your own refreshments, especially for longer journeys. You may remove your face mask only for the purposes of consuming said refreshments.

Assisted travel

Yes, when you're booking your train ticket on our website there is a link in the 'Need assistance' section on the Travel options page. Just click on the link and you'll be able to request what help you need and we'll be in touch.

Alternatively you can call:

To book travel assistance for an existing journey, please see our dedicated page on travel assistance.

Yes, in order to reserve a companion seat please call our Passenger Assist team on 0345 603 4852 (option 4, open 08:00 - 22:00)

Please pre-book assistance for your journey. Pre-booked assistance can be provided at manned stations on our routes and processes have been adapted in order to keep staff and passengers safe. Most assistance can be provided in compliance with the social distancing rules. Where that is not possible, processes have been put in place to help manage any risk and ensure that safe distancing is maintained.