'Day trips to Blackpool are not essential', say rail chiefs after beach-bound families pack trains

Taking a day trip is not essential. That’s the message from rail operator Northern which is calling on families to 'think twice' before hopping on a train to Blackpool.

By Matthew Calderbank
Friday, 5th June 2020, 12:36 pm
Updated Friday, 5th June 2020, 12:40 pm
Families from across the North West boarded trains and flocked to Blackpool's beaches during the warm weather last weekend
Families from across the North West boarded trains and flocked to Blackpool's beaches during the warm weather last weekend

As temperatures soared at the weekend, so did passenger numbers as families crammed onto trains and swarmed the resort's beaches.

It has led to social distancing concerns onboard trains, as Northern continues to run a reduced service with 85 per cent less capacity.

The rail operator is reminding people that they should only be using train services to undertake essential journeys, and to leave space for those who need it most.

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Northern is running a reduced service with 85 per cent less capacity due to the ongoing pandemic

Chris Jackson, regional director for Northern, said: "We know the temptation is there to jump on the train and head to some of the fantastic destinations the north west has to offer, and in ordinary circumstances we would welcome everyone onto the railway.

"But we are still being affected by the coronavirus pandemic and, as a result of social distancing measures, capacity on our trains is significantly reduced.

"We are still advising people to use public transport only if no other options are available and if the journey is essential.

"The space we have on our trains should be left for those who need to make vital journeys."

He added: "Destinations across the north of England will still be there to be enjoyed when the country recovers from coronavirus and I ask everyone to show a little more patience and take a little more time to consider if they absolutely have to travel by train."

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Northern is operating reduced timetables due to the coronavirus crisis and, where services do operate, capacity on trains will be significantly reduced as measures have been put in place to help people keep their distance.

It says anyone who needs to make an essential journey should wear a mask, leave extra time for travel and check times carefully as services may be subject to further amendments and delays.

Yesterday (June 4), the Government said wearing face coverings will be mandatory on public transport in England from June 15.

Currently passengers are advised to wear a face covering but are not barred from travelling without one.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said face coverings would be "a condition of travel" and not wearing one could "ultimately" lead to a fine.