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Published on : Thursday, November 26, 2015
With Birmingham’s famous Christmas market underway and the number of visitors to the city set to increase over the festive season, passengers are being urged by Network Rail to plan their journeys and allow more time to catch their trains at Birmingham New Street station.
Millions of people visit the market every year, putting increased pressure on the rail network in and out of the city. This year the Christmas market runs until 22 December and, combined with the seasonal increase in shoppers, helps to create one of the busiest times of the year in the city.
In 2014 passenger numbers peaked on a Saturday in December inside the station at 300,000 – 1200,000 more than the average Saturday – and the average number of passengers per day is more than 180,000.
While there is more space than ever inside the newly redeveloped New Street station, crowd control measures will still be in use at busy times to safely access the platform areas and trains. Extra staff will be on hand to provide assistance.
Pat Power, station manager at Birmingham New Street, said: “The Christmas market and festive season are great for Birmingham but put significant pressure on the station to safely manage much higher passenger numbers and sudden large surges of people trying to catch their train.
“Every year we carefully plan for and safely manage big increases in passenger numbers. While the station has more than enough space to handle the expected crowns, we have to be prepared to put queuing measures in place to get to the platform areas, should we need to.
“Our advice to passengers is always allow for extra time to make your train, don’t rely on your last service and check before you travel. There will be extra staff in place across the station to provide advice and information and help keep passengers safe.”
Phil Cavender, general manager for Virgin Trains, said: “The run up to Christmas is always an exciting and busy time. With so much to see and do in Birmingham we would encourage anyone to looking to travel by train to plan ahead, leaving a bit of extra time and of course book their tickets in advance to guarantee themselves a seat. Our welcome hosts, working closely with Network Rail, will be on hand to say hello and ensure a smooth passage through the newly transformed station.”
London Midland ‘s West Midlands general manager , Mark Goodall said: “We want everyone to have a good time visiting the shops and attractions this Christmas. We will be doing everything we can to help, including running extra carriages on the Snow Hill lines. Just remember, this is a busy time of year for everyone, so make sure you know your travel options and don’t rely on your last train home or you could be disappointed.”
The weekend of 27, 28 and 29 November is likely to be the first extra busy weekend in the build-up to Christmas. There are several big events taking place over the three days including the now annual ‘Black Friday’ retail sale; Aston Villa’s home match against Watford; Paul Weller’s show at the NIA; the 2015 Birmingham International Tattoo at the NIA; and the Free Radio Live event at the Genting Arena.