Railways to prove a ‘lifeline’ to fans as Tour plans are set to be revealed

Ruth Mawer, from Bettys, with chocolate 1919 Victory Bears wearing special Yellow Jerseys. Picture by Lynne Cameron/PA Wire
Ruth Mawer, from Bettys, with chocolate 1919 Victory Bears wearing special Yellow Jerseys. Picture by Lynne Cameron/PA Wire
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Transport chiefs will unveil Yorkshire’s rail industry plans for the Tour de France Grand Depart today, which will aim to keep the county moving when an expected 3m people visit for the July race.

The county’s railways are expected to be key to Tour organisers’ plans for the July 5 and 6 spectacle, which will see many Yorkshire highways brought to a standstill by minimum eight hour road closures as Le Tour rolls through.

Major rail companies including East Coast, Network Rail, CrossCountry, East Midlands Trains, Northern Rail and Grand Central will reveal their plans to cater to the world’s most watched annual sporting event during a press conference at Leeds City Station today.

Tour organisers are urging spectators to use public transport to help them reach rural Tour vantage points.

Travel website National Rail Enquiries has already issued guidance to spectators stating that many train services have been “strengthened to cater for additional passengers”, while services are expected to be busy.

Alan Chaplin, service delivery director at Northern Rail which is leading the press conference, said: “Our services will provide an important lifeline throughout the weekend, connecting many spectators to viewpoints along the route, and we have sought to provide as much additional capacity as we can.”

Rail companies operating in Yorkshire have been planning their Grand Depart services with the help of the Government’s TDFHUB2014 Ltd since last year.

With anticipation building for the iconic cycle race’s arrival, much-loved Harrogate-based chocolatier Bettys has given its trademark 1919 Victory Bears a Yellow Jersey makeovers.