As the weather warms up, so the calendar fills up with big social and sporting events - from the Chelsea Flower Show to Wimbledon, music festivals, cricket matches, and rugby internationals.  The league season is now in full swing and a number of rugby union internationals were held at the weekend, prior to the various home teams going on their summer tours.

One such match was at Twickenham on Sunday.  To their credit South West Trains organised some additional train services between London Waterloo and Twickenham extra to the normal timetable.  But, despite making an attempt to provide some additional capacity, a CfR member reported things did not go to plan.

"Five extra 8-car trains were provided to Waterloo starting from Twickenham at 1715, 1721, 1738, 1743 and 1817.  The 1715 arrived at platform 3, filled up and departed.  People were then allowed onto platform 3 for the 1721 service, which was re-platformed at the last minute onto platform 4.  However, crowd control staff were there to stop anybody from using the station footbridge and would not allow the passengers on platform 3 to use the bridge to cross over to platform 4 to board the train.  As a result, an 8-car train left Twickenham for Waterloo one minute late at 1722 with precisely nobody on board."


1 June 2016

Big Events by Rail


At least South West Trains made an effort.  Each October, Birmingham hosts a half-marathon.  You would think that London Midland would organise some additional trains to allow participants and spectators to get to the event prior to the start at 09:30 a.m. especially given a large part of the city road network is closed to allow the event to take place safely.  Every year, LM makes no effort to run any extra trains, so the earliest one can get into Birmingham for on most of the local routes is 9 a.m. - meaning if you were taking part, you'd have to run half-way across the city centre to make the starting gun on time!

Of course, football fans get frustrated with Network Rail.  The dates of the big fixtures such as the FA Cup and League Cup Finals are set months in advance, but how often do supporters find they can't get there, owing to "weekend engineering work" (which is also planned months in advance).

Big events are big opportunities for the railway.  Get it right and hundreds of additional passengers can be attracted, bringing in extra revenue and goodwill plus the opportunity of repeat trips.