Posted 5th November 2015 | 5 Comments

Rugby organisers criticise railway overcrowding

A COMMITTEE of the Welsh Assembly is being told that delays and overcrowding at Cardiff Central station during the earlier stages of the Rugby World Cup were 'unacceptable'.

Organisers are giving evidence to the Assembly's Enterprise and Business Committee about transport facilities during the event.

Some fans had to wait four hours for their trains after the first two games in September, and Great Western Railway has apologised for underestimating the number of people who would use rail to reach Cardiff. Although shuttle buses were organised to take some of the queuing fans across the border to England, there were more scenes of confusion at Bristol Parkway, which was used as the alternative railhead.

GWR agreed that the results were 'embarrassing', but the situation improved when later games were played.

Organisers have criticised the lack of queuing controls in the streets around Cardiff Central station, which had been preceded by overcrowding at London Paddington before the earlier games. There were also complaints of poor communication and a lack of 'integrated command'.

In spite of the overcrowding, some trains were not fully loaded because of the way passenger boarding was organised within the station.

Recommendations being submitted to the Committee by the organisers include suspending freight movements through Cardiff Central for three hours after major sporting events, as well as more effective queuing and boarding arrangements.

Problems also occurred at Twickenham during the Rugby World Cup, where the station had to be closed on the evening of 18 September after a man had been hit by a train. Thousands of fans had to be diverted to nearby stations, while the man was taken to hospital with head and leg injuries.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Bert, London

    There is a very simple answer to who is to blame. The organisers of the Rugby World Cup produced comprehensive demand forecasts for each venue to assist the TOCs to plan for the event.

    So, did Great Western plan according to the predicted demand?

    If they did, then the organisers got their forecast wrong.

    If they didn't, then Great Western is to blame.

  • Chris Neville-Smith, Durham

    I'm surprised there's been such problems at Cardiff, because Newcastle also catered for the rugby crowds, with similar rolling stock at their disposal. I was there myself when they had the queue barriers up, and it all seemed okay. (And yes, I dodged the worst of the crowds, but if there had been any problems I would have heard about it.)

    So I guess the first question has to be what was different about Newcastle that made it run better than Cardiff. Anyone?

  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    I saw these 'over-crowding' reports a few weeks ago about Rugby Fans at Reading. I'm well aware that in the 'Good Old Days' there were sidings full of oldish coaches just waiting to be used for 'Football Specials' but I'm unaware now if there are any spare Trains and Coaches available for 'Specials' and if so would there be any Paths for them on the lines serving Twickenham, Wembly or Cardiff ?

  • Lee Brimmer, Luton

    Waiting for trains at Cardiff, this is nothing new. I had a similar situation 10 years ago after a game, do GWR (or their predecessors ever learn) no wonder people use their cars.

  • George Boyle, High Peak

    Suspend Freight! Freight is FAR too important to stop while 30 idiots kick a pigs bladder up and down a patch of grass!