by Phil Marsh

Weekend warning for passengers at Birmingham and Manchester

Published: 12th December 2013

Christmas Crowds may increase your travel time over December weekends

Rail travel is booming and at Christmas time hundreds of thousands of extra passengers are using rail to get to the larger regional cities for their shopping. In fact, so many passengers have been using Birmingham New Street and Manchester Piccadilly stations on Friday nights and weekends in December, passengers are being asked to allow extra time to catch their trains.

These two stations are managed by Network Rail (NR) who has decided to implement crowd control measures at these stations on Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays to eliminate the risk from platform overcrowding. Frome time to time, passengers will be held on the station concourse to allow platforms to clear.

When will the control measures be in place at Birmingham New Street?

On Friday nights and weekends up until Christmas, crowd control measures will be in place at New Street station at the following times:

Friday 1500-2300

Saturday 0900-2300

Sunday 1100-2300

They said:

Birmingham New Street’s Steve Lewis from NR said: “We would urge passengers to allow extra time to catch their train from New Street over the next few weekends while we manage the huge increase in passengers using the station.

The safety of passengers is our priority and on November 30, we saw nearly 200,000 passengers use the station, a 75,000 increase on a typical day. We would appreciate their patience while we implement these crowd control measures which are there for the safety of all passengers using the station.”

Chief Inspector Kevin Marshall, British Transport Police (BTP) Sector Commander for the West Midlands, added:

“BTP has a number of ongoing operations and patrol strategies in and around Birmingham New Street railway station to assist our partners at Network Rail and the Train Operating Companies in the run up to the Festive period, which is traditionally an extremely busy time for the rail network. Safer Travel Team officer are patrolling the German Market and officers are carrying out late-night train patrols, particularly on routes towards the East Midlands.

We have additional officers on duty in order to provide visibility and reassurance for passengers and rail staff and we will work with industry colleagues to support their crowd management operation at Birmingham New Street station.

I would also urge passengers to plan their journeys home carefully and allow some extra time as it might take slightly longer to navigate your way through the busy station and onto platforms and trains during the busy period.

“Clearly, we want people using the rail network at this time of the year to enjoy themselves but it is also important to drink responsibly and don't put yourself in a position where you might cause annoyance to others or become a victim of crime yourself.”

Still being redeveloped

Birmingham New Street is well on the way to being transformed in a three year project and when completed in 2015, will have a larger concourse and improved access to all platforms. The Birmingham Christmas Market is adjacent to the station making driving to the city a daft idea at this time of the year!

Manchester Piccadilly passenger boom

As with Birmingham New Street, passengers using Manchester Piccadilly over the next few weekends are being asked by Network Rail to factor in congestion when planning their journeys. Because of the huge increase in passenger numbers using the station over the Christmas period, NR is implementing crowd control measures to prevent overcrowding around the station concourse area.

When will the system be in place?

The queuing system will be introduced at peak times for local services serving the north west and this is expected to be from 4pm until the end of service on Saturdays.

They said

Gavin Sutcliffe, Network Rail station manager, said: “Passengers should allow extra time to catch their train from Piccadilly over the next few weekends while we manage the huge increase in passengers using the station. The safety of passengers is our top priority. I’d like to thank everyone in advance for their patience and understanding while we implement these crowd control measures which are designed to keep passengers moving safely.”

Paul Watson, operations director of First TransPennine Express added; "On the run up to Christmas, train services into Manchester are expected to be very busy and it is important that customers allow extra time when making their journey. Extra members of staff will be on hand to help customers at Manchester Piccadilly Station over the next few busy weekends.”

“We'd like to thank customers for their cooperation and understanding"

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