Trains to Saturday’s Peterborough game were overcrowded but Greater Anglia has said it “did everything we could”. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY
Ipswich Town supporters have spoken of their frustration at overcrowding on trains to their team’s latest game – but have been told by a rail firm: “We did all we could.”
About 4,000 Blues fans made the trip up to Peterborough for the away game against Posh on Saturday, August 17, with many choosing to travel on the cross country line to the Cambridgeshire city.
But while rail operator Greater Anglia ran an additional train and added carriages to others, supporters still reported packed services – with some reportedly unable to board trains because they were full.
Mark Ramsay, chairman of the Ipswich Town Supporters Club, described the situation as “total overcrowding” and said he believed the number of passengers on some services was dangerous.
However Greater Anglia said it realised early on there would be congestion on the line due to a perfect storm of events, which included a series of major sporting fixtures – and urged Town fans to find other ways of getting to the match.
A Greater Anglia spokeswoman said: “Saturday was a very busy day on our network due to a number of major sporting events – Peterborough United v Ipswich Town, Norwich City v Newcastle United, Colchester United v Cambridge United and the Country Fair Raceday at Newmarket Racecourse.
“A strike affecting East Midlands Trains also meant that some alternative options for rail journeys to some of these events were not available to us.
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“In addition, as we are in the peak summer season, when many of our other routes are busy on Saturdays, there was no flexibility to provide fewer carriages on one route to boost capacity on another line.
“Passengers were advised that services were likely to be full at the weekend.
“We did all we could to keep people moving on the day. We ran an additional train and operated six buses to help Ipswich Town fans get to and from Peterborough. We also strengthened our timetabled services with additional carriages, wherever possible.
“We were unable to hire in additional trains as there is a lack of spare diesel trains across the country at the moment.
“We apologise to any passengers who experienced an unsatisfactory journey as a result of busy trains and we would encourage them to contact us direct.”
Mr Ramsay has offered to work with both Ipswich Town and Greater Anglia to try and alleviate any travel problems to games in the future.
“It could be that Greater Anglia start talking to the club quite early and put this to bed by starting to look round for rolling stock if they know a lot of people are travelling to a game,” he said.
“If we’re going to be at the top of the league as we hope to be, we’re going to need some better plans in place.”
Ipswich Town Football Club has been approached for comment.
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