On a beautiful autumnal morning, facemask at the ready, I met with Richard Clay Business Development Manager for Abellio and Tim Bullock Sales and Partnerships Manager for West Midlands and London Northwestern Railways. I was invited to join them on a journey from Coventry station to Birmingham New Street as they wanted me to experience how it feels to travel with the Covid-19 measures in place on their network.
Coventry station had lots of posters and stickers advising people to wear their masks and to social distance, with a one-way system on the stairways between platforms. I passed through the security barrier with my E-Ticket Barcode displayed on my phone, thus avoiding touching the barrier in any way.
Once onboard the West Midlands train we walked through a few carriages to see how busy the service was and to observer how much space people had allowed between themselves, as seat reservations are not mandatory on that service. The train felt quite busy but with enough space for everyone to abide by social distancing measures and feel safe.
Upon arrival in Birmingham New Street, we took the escalator up to the concourse and passed through the barriers using the contactless E-Ticket. Unfortunately, New Street felt very quiet in what should be a busy, vibrant, city centre station and major railway hub.
There were dedicated hand sanitising stations and proper sinks with soap and paper hand towels to wash your hands. Interestingly the sign read for hand washing only! Would someone be tempted to wash another part of their anatomy in the middle of the station?
Richard, Tim and I took ourselves off for a coffee locally, scanned in with our NHS track and trace app. Richard informed me that the Rail Safety and Standards Board had recently reported the risk of COVID-19 infection being less than 0.01% on an average journey even with no social distancing or face coverings.
It felt good to get back on board and travel by train again.
The new normal, felt very normal indeed.
Head of Proposition Development
Meon Valley Travel
07739 351128 | 0116 2645279