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Before the Grand National Festival at Aintree, British Transport Police was asking race-goers to use the rail network in Liverpool safely and responsibly. T/Superintendent Malcolm McKinnon, officer in charge at Liverpool, said: “The Grand National Festival is an iconic event and, each year, we welcome thousands of people onto the city’s railway.
“Merseyrail run an enhanced service throughout the three days, which means people can get to and from the course quickly and easily. We want to make sure they do so safely, without causing problems for themselves or others. In recent years the vast majority of people have enjoyed a day of racing – including a few drinks – and headed back to the city without any fuss. Sadly a small minority take the drinking a little too far and, when drunk, have been aggressive and abusive toward staff and other rail users. On those few occasions we have had to step in and take action against the aggressors – spoiling their day at Aintree.”
Race goers who have consumed too much alcohol do not just pose a risk to other travellers and staff – they also put themselves in vulnerable positions. To reduce issues caused by drink, Merseyrail has banned all alcohol from its network.
T/Supt McKinnon added: “Even when they do not cause problems for other people, those who have had excessive amounts of alcohol can still find their day out is ruined. During the past few years there have been a number of incidents in which drunken people have fallen over and injured themselves at Aintree station following a day of racing. We have even seen people falling off the platform and onto the tracks.
“Thankfully no-one has been seriously injured, but the increased frequency of trains – as well as the ‘live’ third rail – means anyone who falls onto the tracks is lucky to escape without significant injuries. It is vitally important, therefore, that anyone who has a drink does so responsibly and behaves in a sensible manner.
“We don’t want to ruin anyone’s enjoyment of the festival, but it is vitally important that everyone stays safe during the three days.”