Train company apologises to Norwich City fans for FA Cup fiasco
PUBLISHED: 11:00 08 January 2013 | UPDATED: 17:27 08 January 2013
Train bosses have apologised to Norwich City fans for failing to provide extra carriages for fans travelling to Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Peterborough, and admitted they failed to anticipate the demand.
Management at East Midlands Trains is now re-assessing its plans to ensure there is no repeat of conditions which saw hundreds of Canaries fans standing on many services to and from the third round match at London Road.
Norwich City has also sent its sympathy to fans affected and said the club would be working with train operators to help avoid future problems for its “fantastic” support.
Travelling Canaries took to Twitter to air their views on Saturday, and complaints and comments have flooded message boards on the EDP’s sister paper websites for the Norwich Evening News and Pink Un.
A spokesman for East Midlands Trains said: “We will review the plans we put in place but we have a limited amount of spare capacity, and we are sorry to any passengers inconvenienced as a result.”
Passengers who bought an advance purchase ticket with a reservation and were unable to travel on their booked service may be entitled to claim a refund under the East Midlands Trains passengers charter.
The spokesman said East Midlands Trains had a limited amount of spare stock available on the day because of other FA Cup ties and took the decision to extend the 11.57am train to Peterborough and 5.39pm return after discussion with the British Transport Police.
“The thinking behind using [extra capacity] on the 11.57am train as opposed to earlier was to make sure we picked up any people left over, rather than providing extra capacity too early.” She added: “The numbers [of passengers] were far greater than we could have anticipated.”
Concerns over safety in the crowded carriages, where some passengers had to stand for the entire two-hour journey to and from Peterborough, were also raised by fans.
The spokesman said there was no maximum number of passengers permitted to travel on one carriage, but the final decision lay with the guard or train driver. She added: “If the guard felt the train was too overcrowded, he or she would take that decision, though they would work with the British Transport Police to get their advice.”
The BTP said officers would intervene where they saw a danger to the public or law breaking.
Two additional football special services were run by Greater Anglia, on which fans were able to use pre-booked East Midlands Trains tickets after the two operators agreed
Norwich City ran 12 Canary Club coaches and transported 561 supporters to Peterborough.
A spokesman said the club had been “in dialogue with the two train companies to pass on our supporters’ comments” and ensure the best possible service for fans. She added: “We have sympathy for supporters who had difficulty in travelling on Saturday – the loyalty of our fans both home and away this season, as always, is fantastic – and we will be looking at ways to address some of these issues through future dialogue with the train providers involved.”