Race-goers heading to the Cheltenham Festival can avoid long faces by planning their journey and allowing plenty of time to catch their trains from New Street Station.

The annual meet draws huge crowds, many of whom travel by train from the West Midlands. With up to four services an hour direct to Cheltenham, punters shouldn’t have to wait ‘furlong’ for a train but there are likely to be queues to board trains at busy times.

New Street is well equipped to handle large crowds but allowing extra time to board trains and make journeys will stop passengers falling at the first hurdle as they travel to the racecourse.

Pat Power, New Street Station manager, said: “My top tip for passengers travelling to the Cheltenham Festival from Birmingham New Street is to allow extra time to catch trains and check before you travel.

“Catching the train to the Cheltenham Festival from Birmingham is a firm favourite with many people and services to Cheltenham will be busier than usual. Rather than having to jockey for position, planning ahead will help everyone to get off to a winning start to their day.”

While the odds of not being able to get on your preferred train are low, passengers are always advised to check the latest railway runners and riders before they travel at www.nationalrail.co.uk.

Pat, added: “Last year’s Cheltenham Festival was an unbridled success for us with a stable train timetable running throughout. Hopefully this year the going will be just as good.”