Manchester’s Christmas markets are back for 2018 and passengers are being urged to plan their journeys over the festive season with more people expected to travel in and out of the city by train.

With the famous Christmas markets opening tonight (9 November), Network Rail is advising passengers to allow extra time for their journeys and check before they travel to help keep them on the move.

This year sees the return of more than 300 stalls across the city centre with millions of people expected to visit during the event’s six week run until 23 December.

While the Christmas market is taking place, average passenger numbers at Manchester Piccadilly station rise by up to 40,000 each day, peaking at 160,000 in total.

That’s compared the average of 120,000 people per day using the station during the rest of the year.

Scott Green, Manchester Piccadilly station manager, said: “The Christmas market and festive season are great for Manchester but marks the start of the busiest time of the year for the station. Passenger numbers increase significantly at Piccadilly causing busier services and more people on platforms and the station concourse.

“Our advice to passengers is allow 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.”

Passengers are also being urged to think ahead and plan their journeys if they will be travelling over the Christmas period. As part of its Railway Upgrade Plan, Network Rail will be carrying out improvement work across Britain between 24 December and 2 January which may affect journeys.

Passengers can plan their Christmas travel at; for specific Manchester Piccadilly station information follow @NetworkRailMAN or check with your train operator.