Following the announcement of new rail strike dates, many of those planning to attend one of Newcastle's sporting highlights of the year now will be worrying about their travel plans.
The RMT union has just revealed three more dates when members of 14 train operating companies will walk out and the last of these, July 29, affects Ladies Day at Newcastle Racecourse. The other dates will be July 20 and 22.
Ladies Day at Gosforth Park - like the upcoming Plate Day on July 1 - is hugely popular in the region but also attracts racegoers from all around the country, keen to share in an event that is seen by many as an opportunity to dress in their finest and enjoy a day of wining and dining, sport and, hopefully, sunshine. Lots of people travel to the city by rail and Cross Country Trains, LNER, Northern Trains and the Transpennine Express are just some of the services set to be affected by the upcoming strike.
With Ladies Day now falling on a strike day, threatening many carefully-laid travel plans, those affected will be extra-keen to work out alternative travel arrangements in good time, as the fall-out is likely to see more pressure upon alternative transport services and a busy city centre. Last year the Northumberland Plate Festival was also hit by strikes and Newcastle Racecourse was quick with advice about transport options as well as additional measures to help people reach the Gosforth ground.
Those planning train journeys, especially longer ones, may be looking to swap to other advance options while others less far away may be considering now taking the car or using public transport. Below are some tips about how to travel there by road and the good news is that the North East also has good Metro and bus links to help people reach the city and Gosforth Park. In addition there are set to be shuttle buses from Newcastle to the racecourse.
Brown and white tourist board signs bearing a horse and rider will identify Gosforth Park racecourse from the A1, A19 and main approach roads to Newcastle. The racecourse which is on the outskirts of Gosforth adjacent to The Marriott Hotel.
Parking is free at the racecourse. There is also disabled parking close to the entrance.
Bus numbers 43 and 44 leave from Haymarket Bus Station in the city centre every few minutes and arrive at a stop just outside the racecourse road entrance.
There is also a X15, X22, X21 and X11 from Haymarket and an X18 from Eldon Square bus station. The likes National Express and Megabus offer coach travel from London.
The nearest Metro stations are Newcastle Central Station, which is a 15-minute taxi ride to the racecourse, and Regent Centre, which is two miles away.
There will be run shuttle buses running from Four Lane Ends and Regent Centre Metro stations. These begin an hour and a half before racing, until the first race, then offer returns from the racecourse to the same metro stations directly after racing.
Look out for news of a later service to run to the official after-party at Aveika on the Quayside. Last time, this was available from the last race until end of the live entertainment - which this year will see Ronan Keating take to the stage - with places available on a first-come, first-served basis. Racegoers have free access to the after-party on showing their race ticket.
A taxi from Newcastle City Centre to the racecourse is said to cost around £10. The racecourse adds: "We strongly advise you to book in advance for your drop-off and pick-up". It recommends LA Taxis on 0191 2877 777. The taxi pick-up points at Gosforth Park are located at both the east and west side of the estate.
Flying could be an option if you can bag a reasonably priced flight. Newcastle International Airport is just six miles away and easily accessible. And if money is no object you can apparently contact the racecourse to inquire about landing helicopters!
The top tip is to plan ahead and to leave extra time to travel to the racecourse. The gates usually open two hours before the first race and the racecourse reminds people that there will be plenty of bars and food outlets also open from this time.