Rail passengers are to benefit from extra trains running between Preston and Manchester’s popular Christmas Markets.
Train operators Northern and TransPennine Express will be adding more trains to its Saturday timetables.
The move will allow passengers travelling on the line between Preston, Bolton and Manchester Oxford Road to make the most of the annual Yuletide tradition in Manchester.
“The Manchester Christmas Markets are famous across the country and bring tens of thousands of visitors to the city and region,” said Liam Sumpter, regional director for Northern.
“We are supporting this increase in visitors with extra Saturday services and, where possible, will look to put extra carriages on most routes into Manchester each weekend during the markets.
“This has not been easy to plan, but we are determined to help continue the success of the Manchester Markets and give our customers a little Christmas spirit.”
As part of its winter plans the train operators are also adding trains to lines between Manchester Victoria and Wigan and Manchester Victoria and Rochdale.
Manchester’s famous markets – one of the largest in the country – opened on Friday.
Kathryn O’Brien, customer experience director for TransPennine Express said: “The Christmas markets are hugely popular with our customers who love to celebrate the season with a hot roast sandwich or cup of mulled wine. We want people to enjoy themselves but as our trains will be much busier, customers should plan ahead and allow extra time to travel.”
Coun Andrew Fender, chairman of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “Year on year the Christmas Markets continue to grow and attract more visitors to Manchester and the region as a whole.
“It’s vitally important our transport links are able to cope with this extra demand, so it’s great to see rail operators recognising the need to provide additional support and taking action.”
However, passengers planning to take the train for Christmas holiday travel have been warned of reduced services on some routes.
Many of Britain’s mainline routes will be partially shut during the festive period as Network Rail carries out its biggest ever Christmas investment programme.
The West Coast main line will be halted between Preston and Lancaster from December 24 to 27, with buses replacing trains. And work between Preston and Blackpool is set to last til March (below).