Cross-border clash over train facemask rules

LNER has come under fire for following the new English pandemic rules on board its trains north of the border, which mean face coverings and social distancing are no longer compulsory.

The changes came into effect yesterday, but there are crucial differences between England, Wales and Scotland, because the devolved governments have not lifted the existing rules.

This has difficult implications for trains crossing borders, but LNER had said that the new English rules would continue to apply on board its trains north of Berwick, which would mean that passengers would only be obliged to wear face coverings when they left the train at a Scottish station.

LNER’s stance has been criticised by Scottish transport secretary Michael Matheson, who described it as ‘unacceptable’. He is claiming that Transport Scotland had received reassurances from LNER at the end of last week, when it said messages to its passengers would ‘reflect Scottish law and guidance’.

Transport Scotland said: ‘It is not acceptable that LNER has continued to issue inaccurate advice.’

LNER has responded by indicating that a rethink is possible. It said: 'We are reviewing our approach to social distancing onboard our Anglo-Scot services. The safety of our customers and colleagues remains our top priority and we will provide an update in due course.

'We are continuing to provide an enhanced cleaning programme onboard our trains and at our stations as well as reminding customers to wear a face mask, unless exempt.'

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