MEMBERS of the public have been warned to only use the railways if their journey is essential.

Northern Rail has pleaded with its customers not to take the train for trips to the seaside or beauty spots after an increase in such passengers last weekend, when the number travelling to stations including Blackpool and Hope Valley ‘soared’.

Due to social distancing, capacity on its services is down by 85 per cent.

And the operator has urged the public to ‘leave space for those who need it most’.

Regional director Chris Jackson said: “We know the temptation is there to jump on the train and head to some of the fantastic destinations the north west has to offer, and in ordinary circumstances we would welcome everyone onto the railway.

“But we are still being affected by the coronavirus pandemic and, as a result of social distancing measures, capacity on our trains is significantly reduced.

“We are still advising people to use public transport only if no other options are available and if the journey is essential.

“The space we have on our trains should be left for those who need to make vital journeys.

“Destinations across the north of England will still be there to be enjoyed when the country recovers from coronavirus, and I ask everyone to show a little more patience and take a little more time to consider if they absolutely have to travel by train.”