Football fans who headed from north Wales to Cardiff for a Nations League match have branded the train service a “disgrace” amid scenes of overcrowding.
Supporters questioned why Transport for Wales provided just two carriages for some services to the Welsh capital on Saturday ahead of Wales’ 1-1 draw with Belgium at the Cardiff City Stadium. It comes after heavy criticism of the train service for Ed Sheeran’s recent gigs in Cardiff.
One Wales fan, Wayne Jones, shared a picture of a packed two-carriage train which was “already full” shortly after 11am when it reached Bangor. In an update at 12.46pm, he posted another picture with the tweet: “Gets better… direct train to Cardiff now terminated at Wrexham. Hundreds waiting for another two carriages. Disgusting!” You can get more Swansea news and other story updates by subscribing to our newsletters here.
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He added: “I went last week for the Ukraine game. Kids scared it was that busy. Will not use again until it’s finally corrected to a standard a paying customer deserves. My seat last week was £113 and I stood up penned in all the way. Disgrace of a service.”
Wayne’s posts have sparked well over 1,000 online reactions, including from Lesley Griffiths — the Welsh Government minister for north Wales — who branded the situation “unacceptable” and tagged Transport for Wales in her tweet. One supporter commented: “Every international day is the same for rugby and football and especially on that north to south line. And always the same old excuses. You simply can’t keep using them year after year after year.”
A Transport for Wales spokesman replied: “We understand the situation and we’re not hiding away from our responsibilities. We’re here to deliver on our promises and confident that we will transform the network and make the nation proud.”
Another Twitter user complained: “Like it every weekend on different services! We regularly seen two carriages from Cardiff to Manchester in football season and it’s carnage! Not safe to be travelling like this!”
The spokesman responded that the operator would not run the service “if it wasn’t safe to do so”, adding: “We spend up to three months in advance of a fixture planning the train service and crowd management and we’re sorry to hear of any disappointment today. We understand the improvements that have to be done and working to transform our network.”
In a further statement, Transport for Wales said many people used the railway on Saturday due to the Nations League match and Chester Races as well as the Ed Sheeran and Alicia Keys concerts in Manchester. “So we know that some of our services have been very busy, particularly in the north where there are lots of people travelling to the different events and making their way to the game in Cardiff,” the operator added.
“We always advise passengers to check before they travel and allow extra time for their journeys on busy event days, but we appreciate that some passengers have found the services very busy, and we apologise for any crowded conditions. Our teams are working hard to keep the network moving and look after all our customers during this busy time, and we’d like to thank our passengers for their patience and co-operation while we do our very best to get everyone to their chosen destination safely so that they can enjoy the events taking place.”
Transport for Wales said all its available train carriages were on the network and “where needed”. It also arranged rail replacement and coach services. “New trains for our mainline routes are coming on stream this year, with testing and driver and conductor training underway, and with deployment starting on our routes in the north of the network,” said the operator. “There will be 180 new carriages, enabling us to increase capacity on these routes significantly.”
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