Rugby Fans Told to Expect Delays in Birmingham
South Africa fans have been warned to expect delays this Saturday when South Africa play Samoa in Birminghams Villa Park at 4.45pm. The crowding will be exacerbated by the Australia v Uruguay game at midday and other matches being shown at Millennium Point
The newly opened New Street Stations retail centre will also open today and is expected to draw shoppers. The renovated station now has the capacity to deal with the large crowds expected, but it will be a baptism of fire.
Network Rail have warned fans to expect queues at the station, busier trains, and a busy city centre. Passengers are told to allow extra time for their journey and know the times for their last three trains home, and not to aim to get the last one to avoid being stranded.
Liam Sumpter, Network Rails Area Director said:
It is going to be a fantastic few days for Birmingham with Grand Central opening, Rugby World Cup matches and sold-out events in the city. All of this is on the back of the brilliant new station, which opened last weekend.
There will be hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city centre and we want everyone to arrive on time and be able to get home safely. Our advice is simple – have a great time but please plan your travel, following our three tips: allow extra time, prepare for it to be busy and know your last three trains.
Many of the fans travelling to these games will be first-time visitors to Birmingham so wont be familiar with our transport systems and some wont speak English as their first language. Our job is to help give them a great first impression of our city and to ensure they get safely to and from the games.
London Midlands head of West Coast services, Terry Oliver, said: Our message is it will be busy, there are other events going on as well, so plan ahead and dont leave it till the last train or you may be disappointed. This is Birminghams bumper weekend with the arts festival, Grand Central and the Rugby World Cup all in full swing. We are also reminding fans travelling to Villa Park to use Aston station. Additional services will run before and after the games.
Executive Director for Operations and Projects, Phil Bearpark, said:
Were looking forward to a busy weekend in Birmingham, with loads of great events planned for the weekend. Getting through the station may take a little longer than normal and wed urge all customers to allow enough time for their journey and plan in advance.