Travel advice issued as 300,000 people prepare to attend Manchester gigs… amid train strikes

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 30th May 2023

Those heading into Manchester this weekend are being urged to plan ahead for what’s expected to be the busiest travel day of the year so far.

More than 300,000 people are set to descend on the city’s major events venues this week from Wednesday right through until Sunday (31 May – 4 June) to see some of the world’s biggest music artists take to the stage – with Coldplay taking over the Etihad Stadium, Arctic Monkeys at Emirates Old Trafford, and Sir Elton John at the AO Arena.

Not only that, but thousands more will also be making their way to the free festival, We Invented the Weekend, at MediaCityUK and Salford Quays on Saturday and Sunday.

But despite it being one of the busiest periods the Greater Manchester events calendar has seen all year so far, music lovers and festivalgoers have a whole host of rail strikes to battle with.

As part of what is an ongoing battle between the Government and rail unions RMT and Aslef over pay, pensions, and working conditions, coordinated days of industrial action are planned on the railways nationwide for Wednesday 31 May, Friday 2, and Saturday 3 June – with train timetables and operating hours set to be “significantly affected”.


And if all of that disruption wasn’t enough as it is, the strike action on Saturday also coincides with the first-ever Manchester Derby FA Cup final between Manchester City and Manchester United, with around 90,000 fans due to make the journey to watch the match live inside Wembley, and thousands more expected to travel to the capital to soak in the atmosphere.

In preparation for all these major events taking place, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has issued travel advice and is strongly encouraging people to “plan ahead”.


TfGM is advising that people use the Metrolink as this will be the “quickest and most-reliable way” of travelling in and around the city centre across the weekend.

Drivers are being “strongly advised” not to drive into the city centre, with congestion expected in the city centre and on the Inner Ring Road across the weekend – but those who have no option but to drive are asked to add “a significant amount of additional time” to their journeys.

Sir Elton John is arriving in Manchester as part of the final tour of his career / Credit: Elton John (via Instagram)

Sean Dyball, TfGM’s Head of Customer Experience, says they are preparing for “one of the busiest periods of the year” this weekend.


“We are expecting major congestion on Saturday and we strongly encourage anyone travelling into the city centre to plan ahead and allow sufficient time for their journeys,” he added.

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“Throughout the weekend we will be constantly updating the customer information available on our website and across our social media channels to help people make informed journey choices so they can save them time and avoid disruption.”

Dedicated travel guidance for each of the events happening this week can be found on TfGM’s website.

Featured Image – David Dixon (via Instagram)