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Tube/Trains: Any threat of shut down due to Coronavirus?

We plan to vacation in London (from the US) beginning 3/29. Is there any indication that trains or public transportation will be effected?

Life in the US is really being impacted. Schools closing, companies requiring employees to work from home, NBA shut down. Wondering how things are going in London?

Though we have travel insurance, it will not cover cancelling unless we ourselves are sick.

Any perspective specific to London.

Thank you
Update: As you imagine, with the worsening situation and the US ban on travel from the UK, we have cancelled our trip. I love this community, and am so grateful for you all and the resource this community is. Please take care

Posted by
5817 posts

London is quieter than normal but other than that it is AT PRESENT business as usual.
Based on what has happened in other countries I expect the restrictions to become more extreme over the next few days/weeks. Schools closed, theatres &museums closed, people working from home etc. It might not happen but it’s more likely than not at some point
That said, closing down public transport would be an action of the absolute last resort. The city really relies on it and would struggle to operate in any way if it wasn’t running. But who knows?

I do appreciate your predicament about not having insurance that covers you but I personally wouldn’t travel. There is absolutely no reason to think that the U.K. will be less affected than other countries.We are going to get “hit” whether we like it or not And people travelling when they really don’t need to isn’t going to help matters. You will lose money if you don’t come but you need to factor in how much it might cost you if you get ill, or just stuck, whilst you are over here.

Posted by
1756 posts

The UK gov believes we are 4 weeks behind Italy and is expecting a peak in about 3 months. As Emma said we will be hit and will be taking action in response to the emerging situation at the appropriate time. It seems a different approach to other countries at present and it will be interesting to see how it works out.

There will be many deaths and many more will get ill. It can't be stopped but the plan is to manage the impact so health services aren't overwhelmed.

Anyone considering non-essential travel is either reckless or doesn't understand the gravity of the situation.

Posted by
3949 posts

The number of cases in the U.K. is escalating and therefore, there is a real possibility that we will follow Italy and shut down areas or transport. It’s very fluid.

Non essential travel should be cancelled. Bluntly, our health service is overstretched as it is, without trying to treat foreigners who get ill whilst on holiday. Sorry, if it seems that I have no sympathy and it’s unfortunate for you, but seeing what’s happening in Italy and France, I think we will follow shortly.

Posted by
4653 posts

For the first time this morning I saw significantly fewer people around on my commute into work, probably after the highly-reassuring speech by Bozza yesterday ("many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time").

I have a work conference scheduled at the end of the month in Brighton which at present seems to be going ahead with more hand sanitiser available and people encouraged to sit farther apart, but I suspect it might still end up being cancelled.

Posted by
1150 posts

The UK government believes they have a 4 weeks delay in regard to Italy, a graph by a UK professor I saw three days ago points much more to a 2 weeks delay. As the number of infected will raise - after all the British policy is not stopping the infection - I would that the cry from public opinion will force a different policy.

Posted by
23 posts

Thank you all for your replies. Have never seen anything like this. I appreciate your insight and candor.
Best wishes to all,

Posted by
3304 posts

Don't go. My son is there right now and it's getting more difficult every day. I am trying to get him out right now and back to the US but they keep cancelling flights. Hopefully British Airways will come through...they have a ton of flights available and don't seem to be cancelling them. Things are changing hour by hour - it seems to be about the same as in the US. More restrictions added every half-day or so. Public transport seems to be operating normally - I keep checking my tube app for times and routes and everything seems good in that respect. By the end of March they will certainly have closed borders to those coming in who are not citizens, like we have done in the US. In fact I would expect that to happen soon if it hasn't happened already.

Posted by
5817 posts

More restrictions added every half-day or so

Anita, what restrictions are you hearing about because I'm not seeing them here in London?

It feels like we are very much playing a waiting game, waiting for the government to make a sensible announcement, instead of the shockingly poor communication we are experiencing at the moment.

In government we have been told to carry on business as usual until we hear different. Events at being cancelled, but that is adhoc and more to do with getting ahead of a ban that {hopefully} will come along soon.

I'm working from home today as I have a cold {no covid symptoms :-} } but speaking to my colleagues who are in the office they said the tubes were busy, maybe a little quieter but the usual standing room only.

Posted by
4653 posts

When I went into work this morning the Circle Line was much quieter than usual and St Pancras station itself was absolutely deserted.

Posted by
363 posts

As of last night (16/3) we have been advised to work from home where possible and as a result the tubes are very quiet today. TfL have said they are switching to a Saturday timetable during the weekdays. London was also reported as being ahead of the curve in terms of contagion compared to the rest of the country. While pubs and restaurants haven't been shut down we have all advised to avoid social contact and not go. As a result the theatres have all closed along with cinema chains today.

Posted by
5817 posts

Definitely quieter today. We were told to come in as normal whilst they sort out how we are going to cover the office over the next few months. Whilst most of us can work from home most of the time there are systems that have to be covered in the office.

Lots of discussion about cancelling travel cards and season tickets. TFL is going to get hit hard.

Posted by
5312 posts

Here you go

“Dozens of London Underground stations are to be closed indefinitely amid a toughening of measures to try to slow the spread of coronavirus.

“Transport for London (TfL) announced a series of changes late on Wednesday evening as it urged people in the capital not to travel if at all possible.

“People should not be travelling, by any means, unless they really, really have to,” said the mayor, Sadiq Khan. “Londoners should be avoiding social interaction unless absolutely necessary and that means they should be avoiding using the transport network unless absolutely necessary.”

Posted by
5817 posts

The stations they have closed are the smaller ones where there is no interchange so the impact so far is significant but not huge.
More of an issue is the change to a Saturday service. To date many people are still going into work because they absolutely have to. Fewer trains in the rush hour means more crowding. Good luck trying to keep your distance from fellow passengers!
Obviously trips will now be cancelled but the info might be of interest to someone.