Cheltenham Festival 2023: Train strikes to affect people travelling to and from the racecourse

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People going to Cheltenham Festival are being warned to plan ahead as train strikes are set to cause travel disruption across the network.

The festival begins on Tuesday 14 March and finishes with Gold Cup Day on Friday 17 March.

While extra Great Western Railway (GWR) trains will be running over the course of the week, strike action on Thursday 16 March and Saturday 18 March means an extremely limited service will be running.

No trains will serve the Stroud valley stations on these two days.

People looking to go to this year's festival are being warned to seek alternative ways to travel to and from the racecourse on these days with the select number of trains still running likely to be extremely busy and leave much earlier than usual.

With few trains able to operate on Thursday and Saturday, GWR is also warning those travelling on Friday to travel as early in the day as possible.

People not travelling for the horse racing are being urged to travel before 5pm to avoid being caught up in festival crowds.  

Ben Scott, Cheltenham Spa station manager, has said: "While very few trains will be able to serve Cheltenham Spa on Thursday 16 March and customers should seek alternative ways of travelling, we are however geared up to welcome racegoers on other festival days and look forward to welcoming an expected 15,000 and more every per day.

"To help ease the journey to the festival site, those coming along should buy the connecting bus ticket before arriving in Cheltenham.

"For the return journey a queuing system will be in place, and with strike action on Thursday and Saturday, trains on Friday are expected to be really busy.

"Be prepared to wait to board a train home, return to the station as early as you can, and if you are not travelling for the festival, please travel at other times."

Customers who have already purchased tickets will be able to obtain a full refund.

Tickets for Thursday 16 and Saturday 18 can be used on the day before or up to and including Tuesday 21 March.