All the trains, coaches and ferries that have been suspended, and what to do should you wish to cancel or rebook your trip

Note: The Foreign Office is now advising Britons against all non-essential travel for an initial period of 30 days, from March 17, to tackle the spread of coronavirus. This means the cancellation or postponement of all overseas holidays or leisure trips, which are not usually considered “essential”. If you are in any doubt as to what this means for your trip contact your tour operator, travel agent or airline.

As the Government announces more stringent advice on travelling during the coronavirus epidemic, more transportation methods across the country are being affected. 

Airline cancellations have been the major focus so far, but now the wisdom of travelling via train, coach or ferry is in question, as greater emphasis is put on staying at home and social distancing. Many operators have already had to slash their services due to lack of demand. 

The Government has warned against the use of public transport wherever possible, but what should you do if you’ve already purchased a rail season ticket, advance train or coach ticket?

The good news for travellers is that most leading companies are offering free amendments, and in many cases, free cancellations in exchange for credit. A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group has said that “rail companies understand that these are exceptional times and we are committed to playing our part to support the national effort to delay the spread of coronavirus.”

They added: “Train operators have agreed that for tickets they have sold, they are waiving refund fees on most refundable fares and in the case of cheaper advance fares, all operators will be allowing fee-free changes to a trip if someone decides to change when they travel.”

Can I get a refund on my train ticket?

All operators have waived the £10 ‘change of journey fee’ for advance tickets, which can now be changed to any date within 12 weeks and edited again nearer the time. Any changes will need to be made at least 15 minutes before departure time. 

All operators have also agreed that all Anytime, Off-Peak, Super Off-Peak and Rover/Ranger fares may be 100% refunded, with no admin fees. Due to high volumes of requests, these are expected to take up to a month to process.

The best way to claim refunds or rebook tickets is via the company they were purchased from, whether that is a third-party retailer or the website Trainline.

Season tickets can be refunded, depending on how long is left unused on them. However, there may be an admin fee, and it’s advised to get in touch with individual retailers for details. 

Leeds is just one of many destinations to be affected by train cancellations

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Which routes are affected?

Northern, TransPennine Express, South Western Railway and Great Western Railway confirmed services would be affected by cancellations. Among the Northern routes affected are Liverpool-Manchester Airport, Leeds/Sheffield-Nottingham and Newcastle-Carlisle.

South Western Railway has said that “like most organisations, we’re seeing more staff having to stay at home unwell”, which has led to some short notice cancellations. For more information on cancellations see southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey/live-departures-and-arrivals

Great Western Railway has said the sleeper service from London Paddington to Penzance will be suspended.

Coaches

National Express

National Express has announced it will be reducing its services by 80%. Find more information about timetable changes at nationalexpress.com/en/help/live-service-updates.

Anyone due to travel with National Express until May 31 will be able to amend their ticket for free to travel at a later date, within the next 12 months.

About 80% of National Express’s coaches have been cancelled

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Megabus

Megabus is introducing a special network that will serve those across the country with essential needs to travel. This will operate from March 23 until further notice.

Any customers with a pre-booked ticket for travel between March 23 and April 20 will be able to change their booking for free. Those affected by the changes will be able to request a refund.

Johnsons

All departures have been cancelled until April 30. All customers affected will be contacted individually to arrange a refund or rebooking. 

Ferries

Brittany Ferries 

Brittany Ferries has cancelled a number of their services between the UK and France as a result of the virus. Among the most recent routes to be affected are Cherbourg to Poole, St Malo to Portsmouth and Roscoff to Plymouth.

Customers on cancelled routes will be automatically issued a voucher for the amount of their booking. This can then be redeemed against a future sailing or inclusive holiday for up to 12 months after issue. 

If your route has not been cancelled but you no longer wish to travel, you can amend your booking, though whether this incurs a fee or not varies. 

Those travelling before April 21 may amend their booking free of charge up to five days before their departure date. After this a £25 fee will apply. 

DFDS

DFDS has temporarily suspended their Amsterdam to Newcastle and Copenhagen to Oslo routes. 

All DFDS customers travelling before April 30 are allowed to rebook for free up to 24 hours before their sailing, though any differences in ticket prices will need to be paid. Cancellation is also free, with travel credit equivalent to the ticket price being issued. Travel credit expires on December 31 and all rebooked travel must be conducted by March 30 2021.

A number of ferry routes have been cancelled

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P&O Ferries

P&O has suspended their miniships from Hull (travelling to Zeebrugge and Rotterdam). Customers booked on cancelled routes will be issued 125% credit towards a future journey. 

The company has temporarily removed restrictions on their Transfer Policy, and guests sailing before September 1 are able to move their bookings multiple times, free of charge. Bookings may also be cancelled for Future Cruise Credit (FCC) equivalent to 110% of the ticket price, up to two days before their sailing. 

Stena Line

Stena Line have suspended its Trelleborg-Sassnitz route and cancelled its Oslo-Frederikshavn route permanently. All amendment fees have been waived for bookings made up to April 30. 

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