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British Transport Police take the reins to ensure racing fans travel safely to and from Aintree 2017



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With just days to go before the iconic Aintree Festival begins, British Transport Police, which has been planning its operation for months in advance with industry partners, is asking racegoers to play their part in ensuring it continues to be a safe and successful event. 
A robust policing operation will be in place throughout the three day event with officers patrolling key stations along the network, providing a high visibility presence and reassurance to the travelling public .
Racing fans using the railway  are reminded to be patient getting to and from the race course as services will be busy. Any abuse of rail staff or other passengers will not be tolerated and officers will act swiftly to deal with any incidents of anti social behaviour or disorder.
Racegoers are also asked to drink sensibly and not overdo the booze as anyone deemed too inebriated will be refused travel.  
Chief Inspector Malcolm McKinnon said: “We expect  thousands of excited race-goers to use the rail network on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and BTP will have a large number of officers on hand to deal with the increased numbers.
“We expect people to behave in an appropriate manner when using the railway and  I would remind race goers to please drink responsibly and be mindful and considerate of other passengers and particularly rail staff who will be working hard to get them safely  to and from the event.
“Queuing systems will be in place at stations and we ask that racing fans cooperate fully with directions, keep in good spirits and remain patient with station staff.
“I would ask the public to remain vigilant and if anyone is at all concerned by anything they regard as suspicious, they report it directly to uniformed officers or by phone on 0800 40 50 40 or text to 61016. In an emergency always call 999.
On Saturday,  the RMT union is staging industrial action on Merseyrail and Northern services so the advice to ‘check before you travel’ is more important than ever.
Merseyrail will be operating an Aintree-focused timetable with services every 7.5 minutes at key times, but trains will be busy, so allow extra time for getting to and from the races.
CI McKinnon said: “As well as our usual advice for passengers to look after their belongings and not overdo the alcohol, it’s vital that racegoers, or for that matter anyone travelling into, around or out of the city on Saturday, is aware of the modified timetable and extra busy services.
“Checking with Merseyrail and Northern before you travel as well as National Rail Enquiries will go some way to helping you enjoy the day without worrying about how you’ll get home. It’s also worth considering alternative transport plans for getting out of the city.
"As usual we have worked closely with our partners Merseyside Police, Merseyrail, Virgin, Network Rail, Northern Rail and Merseytravel in the build up to this year's event and will continue to do so throughout the meeting to ensure the event is enjoyed by all."
“Most of all we want people to enjoy their annual trip to the races – have fun but be aware of your surroundings and keep safe.”
BTP is also issuing the following top tips  for safe travel to racegoers:
Plan Ahead:
• Ensure you have a valid ticket – many can be purchased in advance to avoid queuing
• Confirm train time and connections before travelling, giving yourself plenty of time to catch a train
• Make sure at least one person knows where and when you are travelling and your expected arrival time
Stay Aware:
• Wherever possible avoid openly carrying or displaying valuable items such as mobile phones or iPods
• Be wise to potential pickpockets. Keep purses and wallets close to your body and out of sight
• If you drink, don’t over do it, and don’t carry any open bottles on the trains or at stations
• Stay awake while travelling
On the Train:
• Keep any luggage in view – check it regularly and be extra vigilant when the train stops at stations
• Secure your belongings. Don’t leave wallets or purses in your coat hanging on a hook
• Never leave laptops, mobile phones or any electrical equipment or valuables unattended
• Keep an even temper
• Don’t be abusive to rail staff
Remember BTP officers will be on hand across the rail network and any crime or suspicious behaviour on the railways should be reported to BTP on Freefone 0800 40 50 40.

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