MAJOR changes are coming into force on ScotRail trains as of tomorrow.

The railway provider, along with Network Rail, confirmed the new measures following advice from the Scottish Government on July 2.

Currently, face coverings are mandatory at stations and on trains.

Platform markings and guidance at ticket vending machines are supporting station announcements and messages on customer information screens, to help customers during their journey.

ScotRail say a number of steps have been taken in recent weeks to keep staff and passengers safe, including the provision of hand sanitiser and face masks at the busiest stations in the country.

So what is changing?

The new move will see physical distancing on the train carriages reduce from two metres to one metre.

This will allow for a greater capacity on board, while sticking to Scottish Government guidelines.

HeraldScotland: Face coverings are mandatory on public transportFace coverings are mandatory on public transport

People are urged to consider alternative travel options where possible, including walking and cycling, to free up space for those who have no choice but to travel by train.

For those who do travel on ScotRail services, the operator is asking customers to continue to follow its five rules for safer travel and take personal responsibility:

1. Do not travel if you feel unwell or have a temperature.

2. Travel away from the main commuting times (0700 – 0900 and 1600 – 1830) wherever possible, as trains will be busiest around then. The earliest and latest trains serve key workers, like NHS and care home staff.

3. If you think it’s not safe to board a train, don’t do it and wait for another service.

4. Wear a face mask or covering and, where possible, maintain physical distancing.

5. Be patient. You might not be able to board your first choice of train, as physical distancing means most seats need to be left empty.

The capacity of trains remains significantly reduced to help support physical distancing.

Customers are reminded to buy in advance of travel via the ScotRail app, website, or station facilities to ensure waiting times are reduced and physical distancing supported.

Some stations facilities will remain unavailable to allow for physical distancing. All customers must hold a valid ticket before boarding a train.

David Simpson, ScotRail Operations Director, said: “We’ve worked closely with staff, trade union colleagues, and the government to satisfy ourselves that we have sufficient safety measures in place to move to a minimum of one metre physical distancing on trains and at stations.

“The provision of face masks and hand sanitisers at our busiest stations are just some of the measures we introduced in recent weeks to keep staff and customers safe.

“But we need everybody to continue taking personal responsibility for their travel choices, because physical distancing can’t be guaranteed. Customers who do travel with ScotRail should follow our five rules for safer travel, including the wearing of a face covering on trains and at stations."