On the 6th February the 6 Nations rugby internationals kick off, rugby fans will prepare themselves for over crowded trains and the usual excuses from the rail franchise holders. On Friday 28thFebruary Wales play France. Rugby fans will face the ordeal of a Friday night international match, with an 8pm kick-off and the logistical perfect storm that awaits them.
Simply getting to (and from) Cardiff on a Friday evening, with the lack of late trains, and scheduled maintenance – may more than try fans patience. It will be grim for Welsh Rugby fans, travelling south and east to Cardiff before kick-off, but it may be even grimmer afterwards when they try to get home.
Bitter experience relayed by supporters (and would be rail travellers) tells me that the franchise holders will run short trains, when these trains reach Abergavenny, Pontypool, Cwmbran, Chepstow, Caldicot, Severn Tunnel Junction and Newport (not to mention Hereford, Lydney and Gloucester) they will be so full that passengers cannot board them.
Prepare for the usual excuses from Arriva Trains Wales as to why this overcrowding problem happens and how it will be avoided next time. The reality is that the short-term rental costs of hiring extra trains would be cost prohibitive. The day the rail franchise moves to a not for dividend profit cannot come soon enough.