Owner of Atlas Bar in Manchester 'thankful' venue is closed during 'disastrous' rail strikes

  • Report by Granada Reports correspondent Rob Smith

The owner of a bar underneath a train station in Manchester say they are "thankful" to be closed during the rail strikes, because of the "massive impact" on customer footfall.

Atlas Bar in the city centre sits in a railway arch at Deansgate, with the train station directly above.

It is closed until 12 January while re-decoration works are carried out, and to give staff a "well-earned break".

Credit: ITV News

Elaine Wrigley who runs the bar says the location has always been a bonus, but on days when there are limited trains because of strikes, it is not worth opening at all.

"It's a disaster for hospitality", Elaine said.

"January, February and March are always the quietest months of the year.

"We always plan for that, but we don't know with much advance notice when the strikes are going to be.

"We're fortunate this week that we are closed for maintenance."

'Massive impact'

Profits at Atlas Bar have been impacted by 20% on days when there have been fewer trains.

"When parties of 100 or more people are cancelled, that is a significant amount of money," Elaine added.

Elaine says the impact of the strikes is causing people to stay out of the city centre, because of worries they may not be able to get trains home.

'It's stopping people coming into the city'

Rail passengers faced a third consecutive day of travel disruption on Thursday 5 January, because of a strike by train drivers.

No trains are running in the North West, except for some Transport for Wales and Merseyrail services.

Passengers arriving for the limited services say they had to travel via complicated routes to get to their final destination, with those who did manage to get on trains feeling "very lucky".

The walkout by members of Aslef at 15 rail companies is over a long-running dispute over pay.

The action follows a 48-hour strike by members of the RMT union.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...