Ale trail drunks force strict new seating rules on Transpennine Express weekend trains


Train passengers travelling between Manchester and Hull have been told they can no longer pre-book a seat – due to the amount of “drunken rows” over reservations on a weekend.

Transpennine Express (TPE) has banned passengers booking a seat on journeys at the weekend, after numerous reports of antisocial behaviour and rowdy disorder on the trains.

The firm has also brought in extra security along the route to deal with the problems.

TPE blames people who go on the Transpennine Ale Trail – a well-known railway-themed real-ale pub crawl which takes place in pubs on or near stations between Batley, West Yorkshire, and Stalybridge, Greater Manchester.

Although the Ale Trail is not in Hull, TPE says it “can’t do” part reservations on its services, meaning all services between Hull and Manchester have been affected.

Paragon Interchange
Paragon Interchange

Passengers claim TPE staff has also blamed the decision on rowdy passengers who have spent the day drinking in Leeds city centre.

‘A ridiculous decision’

One regular passenger, who does not want to be named, has described the situation as “ridiculous”.

The 41-year-old woman from Brough says TPE staff at Brough station told her the rule had been put into place because too many people to go Leeds and get drunk, then come back on the trains causing trouble.

The woman said: “My friends and I often travel to Leeds on the train, to shop and drink and we’ve always booked a seat for the return journey because obviously we don’t want to stand all the way home.

“We noticed recently we were unable to book a seat online, so I popped to the station to see if they could book it for me and the woman said that due to the amount of people who come back from Leeds to Hull drunk, they now can’t let anyone reserve seats.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous to do an outright ban for everyone, because of the minority of people who cause problems. There must be another way to deal with the problem, surely?

Transpennine will be taking on the new timetable from May 20
Transpennine Express have banned seat reservations at weekends

“We have had problems in the past with people already being sat in our seat when we’ve got on the train but obviously if you have tickets you just ask them to move.


“It often can get quite loud on trains, we have seen arguments and it hasn’t been very nice, but surely if you can’t book a seat there would be more arguments over seats. If people can book then if they have their tickets the conductor can make sure they are the ones who get their seats.”

What Transpennine Express say

A spokesman said: “This is due to the ale trail between Leeds and Manchester causing issues on a weekend. We still sell ‘counted places’ advance tickets on these services meaning customers can still gain a discount if booking in advance.”

Transpennine Express also said the firm has brought in “extra security” to help conductors along portions of the ale trail. The firm said it realises the “situation is not ideal” and will be looked at again in December.


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