One million extra passengers expected during Commonwealth Games

One million extra people are expected to use railway services when the Commonwealth Games kicks off in the West Midlands later this year, chiefs have said.

Network Rail said it is anticipating a "busy" period ahead of the major Birmingham and Black Country event and is currently preparing to get the railway "in the best possible shape".

Chiefs have trained more than 100 volunteer station hosts at Birmingham New Street, stamped out graffiti and have a hi-tech response vehicle if incidents happen.

The major Birmingham games will see a range of events take place across the region – including at Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Smethwick and in other locations.

Denise Wetton, Network Rail’s Central route director, said: “We’re pulling out all the stops to get ready for the million extra journeys we’re expecting while the Commonwealth Games are taking place, so that passengers can get to the Games safely and reliably.

"It’s great to be able to welcome so many extra passengers to the station and we’ll have extra staff and volunteers on hand to make sure visitors to the Games get off to a winning start.”

Work to install lifts at Smethwick Galton Bridge has been sped up to make sure that they will be working for visitors to the Sandwell Aquatics Centre during the event.

And elsewhere, Coventry station's major makeover with new bus interchange will make it much easier for passengers using the station throughout the games and beyond.

Malcolm Holmes, executive director West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) and director of rail at Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), said: “With more than a million spectators expected for the Games, we need to make it as easy as possible for people to leave the car at home and go by public transport. This will help us manage congestion and emissions and keep the region moving during what will be a very busy time.

“The rail network will play a key role in getting spectators and visitors to their venues and our new station at Perry Barr along with investments into Coventry and University stations will leave a lasting legacy for passengers.

“But planning for such a major sporting event is always a challenge and it has seen a tremendous collaborative effort across the rail industry with WMRE, Network Rail and all train operators working together through the Grand Railway Collaboration.”

The million extra passengers means that all rail passengers can expect a busier rail network while the while the games are taking place – from July 28 until August 8.

People should plan their journey in advance and allow extra time with services and stations expected to be busier than usually, especially near venues where events are taking place.

Passengers should check nationalrail.co.uk for the latest journey information ahead of and during the Commonwealth Games.

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