Manchester’s Christmas markets are back for 2019 and passengers are being urged to 'think in threes' with more people than ever expected to travel in and out of the city by train.

With 503,384 passengers using Manchester Piccadilly on the markets’ opening weekend last week, Network Rail is advising everyone travelling into the city by train to plan ahead to allow for the smoothest journey possible.

Millions of people are expected to visit Manchester for the market until 23 December, with many using the railway to enjoy the city's festive events and attractions – but it can mean trains and platforms are much busier.

Network Rail’s top three travel tips are:

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 to the average of 120,000 passengers using the station daily during the rest of the year.

As with previous years, queuing systems may be used at exceptionally busy times to safely allow people to board their trains home. Extra station will be on hand between Thursday and Sunday every weekend in the run up to Christmas.

Scott Green, Network Rail’s station manager at Manchester Piccadilly, 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.

“I’m urging passengers to think in threes to make travelling in and out of the city as easy as possible. Planning your journey, checking before you travel and knowing the times of your trains home will really help everyone. There will be extra staff in place across the station to provide advice and information and help keep passengers safe throughout.”

Passengers are also being urged to think ahead and plan their journeys if they will be using the rail network over Christmas.

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 on Twitter or check with your train operator.