Manchester-bound sports fans urged: ‘Allow extra time for train travel’: Boxing Flanagan

Friday 9 Oct 2015

Manchester-bound sports fans urged: ‘Allow extra time for train travel’

Region & Route:
London North Western
North West Central

The 160,000 sports fans heading to Manchester this Saturday were today (Fri) urged to allow extra time for their train journeys.


Network Rail and train companies offered rugby league, rugby union and fight fans three top travel tips to ensure they get safely to and from their events:

  • allow extra time because it will be busy
  • expect queues, and
  • know the times of your last three trains home - but don't aim for the very last one.

Here’s why Manchester is going to be busy on Saturday:

  • Leeds Rhinos face Wigan in the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford (capacity 73,000) at 6pm.
  • England play Uruguay at Manchester City's Etihad stadium (60,000) at 8pm.
  • Doors open at the Manchester Arena (21,000) at 4.30pm for a night of boxing, including Manchester’s Terry Flanagan defending his WBO World Lightweight title and Liverpool's Liam Smith vying for the WBO World Super-Welterweight championship.

Terry Strickland, North West area director for Network Rail, said: "Two evening rugby kick-offs of this magnitude, as well as boxing, will see huge numbers of sports fans travelling into Manchester this Saturday. To ensure you get safely to and from your event, we recommend following our three top travel tips: allow extra time, expect queues and know the times of your last three trains homes - and don't aim for the very last one."

Network Rail will have volunteers at Manchester Piccadilly station helping passengers with way-finding and information.

A spokesperson for TransPennine Express said: "Trains and stations in Manchester will be extremely busy this Saturday, especially from the evening until the last service of the day. Anyone travelling through Manchester should fully anticipate this and be prepared for it. That's why we’re strongly advising people to 'choose, check and charge' before travelling - 'choose' your service, 'check' this before travelling on the day via our app, website, social media channels or free 'Journey Check' tool, and make sure your phone's fully charged so you have access to real-time information throughout the day. Also, please don't hang around in the city centre in the evening waiting for your last train home, as this will be extremely busy."

Richard Allan, commercial director for Northern Rail, said: “We’ve been preparing for months with industry partners for an amazing weekend of sport. We’re providing as many additional seats as possible for fans travelling to and from Manchester on Saturday, and we have dozens of extra staff at key stations to help customers with information.”

Gary Iddon, Virgin Trains' general manager, said: "We're really pleased to be playing a part in the Rugby World Cup. We have been working closely with the event organisers to ensure additional services, exclusive to Rugby World Cup ticket holders, are in place for the England game at the Ethiad. Tickets for the additional services are available to buy through the official Rugby World Cup website. We can't wait to welcome rugby fans from around the world to Manchester but advise them to book their journeys in advance."

Jonny Wiseman, general manager north for East Midlands Trains, said: "Trains to and from Manchester will be extremely busy throughout Saturday. We are providing additional and strengthened services.  In addition to this we will have extra staff available to assist customers but we strongly advise customers to plan their journey before leaving and leave plenty of time to reach their destination. Whether customers are travelling to watch the World Cup, Super League Grand Final or travelling for any other reason we're looking forward to helping everyone have a safe and convenient journey."

For the latest passenger information check the train company websites, or for Rugby World Cup travel advice visit

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - Simon Evans
Network Rail
0121 345 3100

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: