Passengers will get there and back without too many tears.
That was the confident pledge from public transport chiefs today ahead of the exodus by upwards of 25,000-plus Wiganers making Saturday’s pilgrimage to Manchester for the likely sell-out Rugby League Grand Final.
Although there will undoubtedly be serious congestion on the platforms at Manchester Victoria and Piccadily stations, there shouldn’t be a repeat of previous chaotic scenes.
Last year, after Wigan’s defeat to Leeds, the gloom was compounded for Warriors faithful.
Many trouped disconsolately out of Old Trafford only to be confronted with frantic scenes on the railways, which clearly didn’t have the necessary capacity for the numbers needing to get back to Wigan.
Many fans gave up on the ram-packed standing room-only carriages altogether, opting for expensive taxi journeys home instead.
This year the city faces something of a quadruple congestion whammy. Thousands of people are also due to also head in for a cage fighting (UFC) World Championship bout, the Masters Track Cycling championships plus the Manchester Food and Drink Festival.
But Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) insisted today that its weeks of strategic planning should take the pain out of travelling for most passengers. There will be significant “extra capacity” across the Northern train and Metrolink tram services catering for the RL Grand Final. All transport operators including TfGM will be using their social media to update passengers.
Events operations manager Ryan Carter for TfGM said: “We’ve been working closely with travel operators to plan for the day and while all modes of transport have boosted their capacity, services and stations will be busier than usual.
“We want everyone coming into the region for one of these events to have a great time.
“Our advice is for people to plan their journey in advance and allow extra time, especially when it comes to getting home - so please do not bank on catching the last train, tram or bus.
“For more information and advice passengers should visit the Transport for Greater Manchester website or follow us on Twitter throughout the day for any information that may adversely affect travel.
Routine maintenance across the local motorway network has been suspended to give the thousands of fans smoother journeys.
However drivers are reminded that Manchester Smart Motorway project means continuing narrowed lanes and a 50mph speed limit along sections of the M60 and M62. Motorists are being urged to use the various Transport for Greater Manchester park and ride sites.