C-19 Network Rail

A message from Network Rail

Network Rail has today introduced a range of measures to keep staff safe, keep passengers whose journeys are essential moving, and transport critical freight goods like medicine and food to hospitals and supermarkets. We are carrying out only essential maintenance and renewal work to protect the rail infrastructure during the period of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Where ever possible, rail workers are complying with social distancing guidelines.  Network Rail has issued updated standards to set out how this can be achieved, and work is being re-planned where necessary. But there will be some tasks – critical to the operation of the railway – that can’t be done with staff two metres apart, whether to maintain the rail infrastructure, or when working with customers using the rail network. It is in these limited circumstances, only when such tasks are being undertaken, that workers will be provided with surgical face masks. This is to prevent those who may not know they have the virus from spreading it.

After working closely with our Trades Unions to agree roll out plans, and in consultation with RDG, ORR, RSSB and rail operating companies, masks will now be provided to colleagues for use during times when their work requires them to be within two metres of others.

There are differing views on how effective surgical face masks are in preventing the spread of Coronavirus and they should be regarded as an addition to, not a replacement for, other steps. Regular hand washing or the use of hand sanitiser are the most effective ways to stop the spread of the virus, along with social distancing (the two metre rule).  Face masks, when used properly and alongside other protective measures, may help stop the spread of the virus,  before sufferers experience symptoms. Current advice is that they do not protect the wearer from becoming infected. Anyone with Coronavirus symptoms (persistent cough, high temperature) should stay at home and seek medical advice if required.

In drawing up plans to provide masks to staff, great care has been taken to ensure that we are not diverting supplies of PPE from front line NHS workers.  We have been assured that our surgical mask supplies will not impact the provision of masks to the NHS, since this is a separate supply chain.

Please find further information from Network Rail here:


We are working with our supply chain to keep Britain moving whilst prioritising the safety of the public, passengers and railway staff. A dedicated email address has been set up for use by our supply chain in relation to Covid-19.  If you are one of our suppliers and have any questions or concerns please contact us via COVID-19supplychain@networkrail.co.uk

Network Rail also has helpful information on train services:  https://www.networkrail.co.uk/coronavirus

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