RAIL passengers are being urged to plan ahead during the UEFA EURO 2020 football tournament with key fixtures taking place at both ends of the West Coast main line.

It will be a key rail route for football fans during the four-week tournament which starts on June 11.

Train services to London and Wembley on and around Sunday, June 13 and Friday, June 18, match days are expected to be especially busy when England are in action.

The latter fixture is when England and Scotland face each other in the group stages.

In total Britain is hosting 12 games at Wembley Stadium (including the final on 11 July) and at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

Rail companies will be providing journey updates and staff will be on hand to help, but extra people making journeys to the football matches could affect social distancing.

Passengers are being asked to book ahead and get seat reservations where possible, particularly as some long-distance services are reservation only and a number of trains are already fully booked.

Tim Shoveller, Network Rail’s North West and Central region managing director, said: “It’s great to see EURO 2020 take place on home soil and that games won’t be behind closed doors.

"The rail industry has been planning for this for many months so that ticket holders can travel in confidence to the fixtures at Hampden Park and Wembley. We do urge people to plan ahead and book travel in advance with the West Coast main line expected to be busier during the tournament.

"As always, people should follow government safety advice like wearing a face covering on trains and in stations unless exempt and take advantage of National Rail’s journey alerts service.”

Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions for the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Although we won’t be able to influence results on the pitch, train companies are looking forward to playing a key role in making EURO 2020 a success this summer.

"We’re expecting trains to be busier as football fans travel to and from the matches, which is why we are encouraging people to check before they travel and sign up for journey alerts from National Rail so that we can all travel with confidence.”

Train operators are running services to help people get to the matches and will have more people available at stations to help people complete their journeys.

Nick Westcott, operations director at Avanti West Coast, said: “As the UK welcomes EURO 2020, we’re working with UEFA and industry partners to make trains and stations safe for everyone travelling to games at Wembley and Hampden Park. Any fans are advised to make sure they have the information they need to make the best journey choice and consider alternative options.

“With just four days to go before the tournament kicks off, we strongly urge fans to only travel if they have a reservation, plan their trip in advance using the National Rail Enquiries website, and leave plenty of time for their journey.”

During a journey, people can receive live updates, including crowding information, thanks to National Rail’s Alert Me by Messenger service.