Charter operators take different roads on face-covering

Conflicting Government statements on the regulations for passengers wearing face coverings on charter trains has led operators to make different interpretations on what is required.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings on Public Transport) (England) Regulations 2020, introduced on June 15, requires passengers on public transport to wear face coverings.

And a source at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport confirmed to RAIL: “The current legislation on the wearing of face coverings on public transport applies to heritage railways and charter trains.”

However, the source then added: “The legislation states that masks may be removed ‘if it is reasonably necessary to eat or drink’. Organisations will need to consider if dining services on leisure routes fall within the spirit of this caveat. A case by case approach is needed. Any measures put in place to ensure the safety of passengers should be taken following a risk assessment.”

A Department for Transport spokesman confirmed to RAIL that charters fall under the remit of DCMS, as “although charter rail services are trains, strictly speaking they’re tourist attractions/leisure facilities“.

But he added: “As a charter train is closer to a commuter service than a pub or a restaurant then face masks will be required.”

It is the “case-by-case approach”aspect that appears to have left the door open for different interpretations of the regulations.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 909, published on July 15, and available digitally now.

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