Manchester Piccadilly station sees busiest day since March 2020: Manchester Piccadilly concourse shot with Christmas tree 2021

Friday 3 Dec 2021

Manchester Piccadilly station sees busiest day since March 2020

Region & Route:
North West & Central
| North West & Central: North West

The return of the Christmas markets has seen daily passenger numbers at Manchester Piccadilly station return to levels not seen since before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Saturday 20 November 128,591 people passed through the North West’s biggest railway station.

It’s the first time daily passenger numbers have topped 128,000 since March 6 2020.

Total passenger numbers for November 2021 were at 75% compared to the same month in 2019*.

Scott Green, head of stations for Network Rail’s North West route, said: “It’s great to see passenger numbers bouncing back and to see Manchester Piccadilly thriving once again. We’ve loved welcoming passengers back to the station over the last few months and the fact the Christmas market is back is a huge boost for the city.

“While this is great news we’re urging passengers to follow our three golden rules to make travelling in and out of Manchester Piccadilly as easy as possible. There will be extra staff in place across the station to provide advice and information and help keep passengers safe throughout the festive season.”

Network Rail has released a new video with its three golden rules for smooth journeys during December.

They are:

  • Plan your journey and check before you travel at  
  • Take an earlier train home – later services will be extremely busy
  • Remember Network Rail's motto of ‘Be safe, be patient, be kind’ when travelling

Millions of people are expected to visit Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens for the Christmas market until 22 December, which last year had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

While the stalls and attractions are a great addition to the city, it can mean trains and platforms are much busier at the station.

As with previous years, queuing systems may be used to safely allow people to board their trains home.

To plan journeys in advance and find out train times home passengers should check

People are being encouraged to do their bit by wearing a face covering in stations and on trains unless they are exempt**.

By law travellers must wear a face covering in train stations, on train services and any replacement bus services. Those who fail to do so face a fine of £200.

For more information visit:

Meanwhile, enhanced cleaning procedures will remain in place to stop the spread of Covid-19, with hand sanitiser on the station concourse.

To find out more about what Network Rail is doing to stop the spread of Covid-19 visit:

Notes to Editors

* In November 2019 a total of 7,467,991 people used Manchester Piccadilly station, compared to 5,631,790 in 2021.

** Some people are exempt from the face covering legislation, including young children and people with hidden disabilities or breathing difficulties.

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 - North West & Central Region
07740 782954

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.

Usually, there are almost five 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.

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