Cheltenham Racecourse and National Express team up to ensure racegoers make it to Cheltenham Festival

17 February 2023 12:00 PM

National Express Coach 2021

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

The rail strikes announced by the RMT on 16 February are set to include Thursday, 16 March, which is day three of The Festival, St. Patrick’s Thursday, as well as Saturday 18 March, the day after the Festival concludes. 

With the industrial action likely to impact rail services on the days leading up to and following The Festival, National Express will be offering additional coach services on each day of The Festival, which runs from Tuesday 14 March to Friday 17 March inclusive.

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, 22 February.  

Ian Renton, regional director at the Jockey Club (Cheltenham and South 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 16 March as well as on Saturday, 18 March. 

“Every year a large number of racegoers rely on rail service 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 throughout the week of The Festival should help ensure that racegoers’ plans are not significantly impacted by the rail strikes. 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 Cheltenham Festival for over ten years now we are well-positioned to help thousands of racegoers get to the festival with minimum hassle. 

"We’re expecting over 20,000 passengers to travel on our coaches throughout Festival week so we recommend that customers plan ahead and book their tickets early to guarantee a seat.”