Horse Racing fans with tickets for the Cheltenham Festival are being advised to check before they travel, with rail strikes expected to cause significant disruption.

Cheltenham Racecourse released the following statement on Thursday evening, following an announcement from the RMT Union, confirming that strikes will take place on Thursday 16th March and Saturday 18th March.

From Cheltenham Racecourse:

Following today’s announcement of the latest round of rail strikes by the Rail, Maritime & Transport (‘RMT’) union, Cheltenham Racecourse has linked up with National Express coaches to ensure that all racegoers are able to make it to The Festival on time.

The rail strikes announced by the RMT yesterday are set to include industrial action on Thursday 16th March, St Patrick’s Thursday at The Festival, as well as Saturday 18th March, the day after The Festival concludes. 

With the industrial action highly likely to impact rail services on the days leading up to March 16th and 18th, National Express will be offering increased coach services directly to Cheltenham Racecourse on Wednesday 15th March through to Friday 17th March.

Dedicated services will depart from a number of locations across England and Wales including London, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff. Tickets will go on sale on the National Express website from Wednesday 22nd February.

Ian Renton, Managing Director at the Jockey Club Racecourses (West), said: “Today’s announcement by the RMT states that the next round of industrial action will include St Patrick’s Thursday at The Festival on Thursday 16th March as well as on Saturday 18th March, the day after The Festival concludes.

“Every year a large number of racegoers rely on rail services to make their way to The Festival. We therefore thought it was essential to be as proactive as possible in arranging alternative transport options.

“We have a longstanding and excellent working relationship with National Express and the extra coach services they are providing should help ensure that racegoers’ plans are not significantly impacted by the RMT action.

“I would like to extend our thanks to National Express for their assistance in helping to make this happen.”

Ed Rickard, Service Delivery Director at National Express, said: “In addition to our national scheduled coach network, we also provide dedicated services to festivals and events.

“Having served The Cheltenham Festival for over 10 years now we are well-positioned to help thousands of racegoers get to The Festival with minimum hassle.”

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