Virgin Trains has binned Friday afternoon peak restrictions from London Euston to mainline stations including Preston and Manchester.
Restrictions will be removed permanently from November 2, 2018, following a 13 week trial the company says helped reduce congestion on key evening services.
During the trial, the popular 19:00 London Euston to Manchester service saw the average maximum number of passengers fall by 61%.
Normally this would be the first service available for passengers with off-peak tickets.
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Similar benefits were seen on the West Midlands route where the average maximum number of passengers on the 19:03 London Euston to Birmingham New Street fell by 75%.
Over the course of the trial in excess of 3,500 additional journeys were made each Friday, as visitors flocked to major cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow for a weekend break.
But despite more people travelling, it also led to a reduction in congestion by spreading passenger demand more evenly throughout the day.
Sarah Copley, Commercial Director at Virgin Trains, said: “Rather than everyone waiting for the first off-peak train on Friday evening, people can now travel whenever’s convenient for them.
“This change means we’ve been able to reduce congestion, whilst helping people save money and make an earlier start to their weekends.”
While the cheapest tickets are always available in advance, those who decide to travel on the spur of the moment can now secure a cheaper off-peak ticket any time after 9.30am on a Friday, instead of waiting until 7pm.
A customer arriving at Euston Station at 4pm and buying a ticket for the next train to Manchester will see their fare reduced by £125.55.
Savings by destination:
(Based on return journey using Anytime ticket outbound and Off-Peak ticket return vs. Off-Peak ticket both ways.)
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