Manchester City and Liverpool football fans are being reminded against travelling by rail to and from the FA Cup semi-final this Saturday while major railway improvements are taking place.
Essential upgrades at multiple locations along the West Coast main line mean that when both teams meet at Wembley on April 16, there are no direct trains between Liverpool Lime Street or Manchester Piccadilly for London Euston.
Since a 3:30pm kick-off was confirmed by the Football Association (FA), Network Rail has been advising football fans travelling from the North West to avoid getting to or from the game by train.
Passengers are warned that on Saturday 16 April, rail journeys will take longer, any trains running will be busier and travelling fans will need to use rail replacement buses to get from Merseyside and Manchester to Wembley.
Between Good Friday (15 April) and Easter Monday (18 April), Euston station will be closed to main line train services, and multiple sections of railway will be shut for £22m of essential improvements to take place.
Football fans should avoid alternative rail routes – such as CrossCountry services or the Chiltern Main Line – because they too will already be busy because of the engineering work.
Passengers are also being advised about RMT strike action which will affect TransPennine Express services across the north of England on both Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 April.
Dave Penney, Network Rail passenger director for the North West and Central region, said: “We have a strong track record of working closely with partner organisations like the FA to minimise disruption for passengers as far as possible, for example by giving prior notice of engineering projects which could impact on sports or large-scale events.
“Unfortunately, this year there is a clash between our £22m Easter railway upgrades and the FA Cup semi-finals, and regrettably these works can’t be deferred as it would waste millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money and cause further unnecessary disruption to passengers. We’re urging football fans in Liverpool and Manchester to avoid going to or from the match by train, and instead follow the FA’s travel advice on how to get to Wembley on Saturday 16 April.”
One of the major improvement projects between 15 and 18 April is the replacement of sections of railway track near Watford.
Old sections of railway will be ripped up and replaced with new over the four-day Easter break and this is the reason trains can’t run to or from London Euston.
In total Network Rail’s North West and Central region is investing £22m to secure future journeys for passengers and freight on the West Coast main line and key routes in the Midlands and North West.
Nationally, Network Rail is carrying out 530 upgrade projects worth £83m to improve the railway this Easter.
For more information on where and when other work is taking place read more here.
Passengers should plan ahead at www.networkrail.co.uk/wcml, check with their train operators or visit www.nationalrail.co.uk for the latest journey information, or by following #EasterRailWorks on Twitter.
Photo credit: Network Rail