People share photos of crowded trains ‘piled up like sardines’ with few masks ahead of Wales v New Zealand
Train passengers described being “crammed like sardines” on crowded services to Cardiff ahead of today’s Wales v New Zealand rugby match.
Images shared on Twitter show passengers standing in the aisles without social distancing and many not wearing masks, as tens of thousands of fans make their way to the capital for the game.
Saturday’s match – which will start at 5:15 p.m. – is the first sold-out event at the Principality Stadium since before the Covid pandemic.
Read more: You can follow our blog live as the crowds head to the game here.
Earlier this week, Transport for Wales warned that social distancing would be impossible on rail services before and after international, and urged customers to consider this before traveling.
The rail company also said it would use a full schedule “with additional capacity on our busiest trains and all available cars will be in service”.
However, passengers were quick to criticize the overcrowding of services.
Journalist Helen Clifton tweeted: ‘The 13.04 train from Bangor to Cardiff is way too crowded, now late, people have missed their connections, the driver is braking dangerously on arrival at stations. Why can’t you just put in more and bigger trains @tfwrail?
“We’re paying enough and people keep flocking to @transport_wales.”
Sharing a video of a packed car, Leila Al-Badawi said: “Piled up like sardines – train from Milford Haven to Cardiff for a super spreading event. @Tfwrail rugby had been scheduled for 6 weeks.
“It’s shocking – West Wales has the highest infection rate in the whole of the UK.”
Infection rates in Wales are currently higher than any other part of the UK, with Prime Minister Mark Drakeford warning on Friday that the country has three weeks to get Covid under control or that restrictions will be reintroduced.
Covid passes are also used in certain types of venues and events – including Saturday’s game – and are expected to be introduced in theaters and cinemas from November 15.
Others traveling to Cardiff have called for more cars to be used on services and for better enforceability of mask wear, with Brian Hayes posting a photo of a number of his fellow travelers not wearing masks.
He said: “As you can see everyone obeys the law to wear a mask on the 9.47am train to Cardiff today” followed by three angry emojis.
Great Western Railway passenger Tristan Thomas added: ‘It’s good to see @GWRHelp helping people travel in a sustainable way as the UK hosts the COP by shortening ten car trains to five without warning and canceling all reservations.
“The train is packed to Cardiff for Wales v New Zealand, but fans couldn’t get on at every station.”
A spokesperson for Transport for Wales responded to some of the tweets, saying: ‘We run all trains that match the network they operate, until our new stock arrives.
“Normally this is sufficient capacity, but the international game has increased the number of customers by tens of thousands of people. We are using all the units that are available to us.”
Ahead of the weekend, a spokesperson for the rail company told WalesOnline: “With 74,500 people at the Principality’s stadium and thousands more expected in Cardiff to watch the game in pubs and other venues, the Social distancing will not be possible during the match daytime benefits.
“We urge customers to take this into account when choosing whether or not to travel and ask all who use our services to be courteous to other passengers and our staff at all times.
“We have put in place a number of measures to ensure passenger safety, including hand sanitizer at stations, improved cleaning regimes in trains and stations, and queuing systems to control traffic. flow of people in stations and trains.
“We also strongly encourage those who travel shorter distances to walk, cycle or use local bus services.”
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