Southeastern will add extra carriages to 11 Kent services from March 8 to help pupils go back to school
Extra carriages are being added to more than 10 of Kent's busiest train services from Monday morning to make room for the thousands of pupils returning to school.
Southeastern has confirmed it is creating extra capacity across its network as it prepares to welcome back thousands of students who use train services to get to and from their classrooms.
Fifteen services across London, Kent and East Sussex will have additional train carriages next week - 11 of those are for trains running through Kent.
Alongside the extra carriages for services, additional staff will be at Southeastern's busiest stations to control the flow of students, guide passengers through one-way systems and promote social distancing.
As well as keeping their distance from other rail users, all passengers are required to wear a face covering on trains and in stations unless exempt or under 11 years of age.
Southeastern has also produced a ‘Back to School’ video for parents and students to act as a reminder of personal safety measures which must be followed while travelling.
It features Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School student, 16-year-old Bradley Bissett who highlights the simple steps pupils must think about before leaving the house which includes checking timetables, collecting a face mask and organising tickets which can be bought and downloaded from home.
Any child, says Southeastern, who forgets or loses their face mask can ask a member of staff at any station for a disposable replacement to ensure they travel within lockdown laws.
The new video, which has been shared with schools across the network, will also be hosted on Southeastern’s website and published on its social channels in the run up to Monday's big return to school. Thousands of pupils are going back to school for the first time this year following the government's first relaxation of lockdown rules, which enable schools to reopen to all students.
Steve Bradford, station staff at Tonbridge explained: "Many of us are parents ourselves, so we know how excited the children are to get back to school and see their friends. There will be lots to remember on Monday morning, but we hope that by creating a simple checklist that travelling by train is at least one less thing that parents and students need to worry about.
"In addition to our extra cleaning regimes and social distancing measures, we'll also have more staff at the busiest stations to make sure that every student travels with confidence."
David Statham, Managing Director of Southeastern said the company had been working with schools since the government's announcement to make sure the return to school runs as smoothly as possible.
He explained: “We take our responsibility for getting students to school incredibly seriously. Our network provides a lifeline for students across London and the South East in accessing their education and that is why we have been working with schools across the county to ensure parents and children have all the information they need to travel with confidence from Monday 8 March.”
Southeastern has collated all safety information onto its “Back to School” webpage www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/backtoschool to provide passengers, parents and schools with direct access to the latest measures and requirements for safe travel.