Manchester City and Liverpool football fans are being advised against travelling by rail to and from the FA Cup semi-final on Easter 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.
Now a 3:30pm kick-off has been confirmed by the Football Association (FA), Network Rail is 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 closed while £22m of essential improvements 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.
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 at this late stage 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.”
Network Rail is investing £22m to improve future journeys for passengers and freight on the West Coast main line and key routes in the Midlands and North West.
For more information on where and when the 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