Great Northern and Thameslink: Season and advance train ticket holders entitled to refunds

Welwyn Garden City train station. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

Welwyn Garden City train station. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin. - Credit: Archant

Great Northern and Thameslink season and advance ticket holders are entitled to a refund, the Department of Transport announced today.

In light of the government’s social distancing guidelines, it has introduced a refund scheme and temporarily nationalised the railways, which have seen a 70 per cent drop in passenger numbers.

The franchise agreements, revenue and cost has been transferred to the Government for a limited period – initially six months.

Operators will continue to run reduced services day-to-day for a small fee as rail fares revenue have also reduced, with total ticket sales down by two-thirds compared to the same period in 2019.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), who operates our rail services, has already started the gradual service reduction from today and will further reduce the timetable from the following Monday. Services will mainly be running in the morning and evenings to suit key workers commuting.

Transport secretary and Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps said: “We are taking this action to protect the key workers who depend on our railways to carry on their vital roles, the hardworking commuters who have radically altered their lives to combat the spread of coronavirus, and the frontline rail staff who are keeping the country moving.

“People deserve certainty that the services they need will run or that their job is not at risk in these unprecedented times.

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“We are also helping passengers get refunds on advance tickets to ensure no-one is unfairly out of pocket for doing the right thing. These offers will give operators the confidence and certainty so they can play their part in the national interest.”

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said: “The rail industry is working together so that people and goods can keep making essential journeys during this unprecedented national challenge, getting key workers to hospitals, food to shops and fuel to power stations.

“The industry strongly welcomes the Department for Transport’s offer of temporary support and while we need to finalise the details, this will ensure that train companies can focus all their efforts on delivering a vital service at a time of national need.”

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