Rail nightmare for cup final weekend

Rugby fans hoping to let the train take the strain for the Challenge Cup final face some epic journeys due to bank holiday engineering works.

Tuesday, 1st August 2017, 11:12 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:35 pm

Rail bosses have once again chosen late August to embark on major repair operations - clashing directly with Wigan’s showdown with cup holders Hull at Wembley.

No trains are running between Watford Junction and London Euston, the usual calling point for the cherry and white faithful en-route to the national stadium.

Supporters will face at least two service changes, at Manchester and Leeds, before arriving in London following a four-hour journey.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

And they must turn up for their return journey by 7.30pm or face being stranded in London.

Graham Blakeley, who sits on the committee for supporters’ club The Riversiders said: “The recommended route is to go via Leeds and King’s Cross but they always seem to do this on bank holidays.

“The club has chartered trains down there before now but that doesn’t seem worth bothering with, in the circumstances.”

Train operators have claimed additional services will be laid on for the Challenge Cup Final - but are yet to confirm details.

A National Rail spokesman said engineering works would close London Euston on Saturday and Sunday, August 26 and 27.

He added: “This will have a significant impact on journeys from the north west of England and the West Midlands to London.”

Travellers from Wigan are being officially advised to travel to the capital via Leeds, which will involve Wigan North Western passengers changing at Manchester Piccadilly first.

Virgin East Coast services then run to London King’s Cross, with fans being asked to walk to St Pancras Underground, where they can catch a 41-minute Metropolitan line tube to Wembley Park.

Other rail options including catching a West Coast Main Line service to Birmingham New Street, transferring from the city’s Moor Street stations, to reach London Marylebone, for a shorter Underground trip. Return journeys are heading back from London St Pancras and King’s Cross but only until 1928.