Shropshire train services to be derailed - by Champions League Final
Train passengers in Shropshire will be left without a rail service – because of a football match more than 100 miles away.
The rail timetable on the Shrewsbury line will be heavily disrupted in the hours before and after the UEFA Champions League Final, which is being played in Cardiff.
The disruption, on Saturday June 3, is because trains normally serving our county will be sent to the Welsh capital instead.
They will help supporters from Juventus and Real Madrid travel between airports and the National Stadium of Wales.
A number of services to and from Shrewsbury and beyond will be cancelled, with a five-hour black hole in the Arriva Trains timetable on the route that connects Shrewsbury and Crewe.
Normally evening services in the line operate up to every 30 minutes, but on June 3 the last train to Crewe from Shrewsbury will be at 6.25pm and the next one is not scheduled until 11.30pm.
The cancellations will have a knock-on effect for travellers from stations across the county such as Wem and Whitchurch.
The last train to Shrewsbury from Cardiff Central is at 5.21pm. There will be no more services on the Cardiff to Shrewsbury route until 8.30am on Sunday morning.
One Shropshire train user who campaigns online for better services and is known as Gibby, has complained to Arriva. He said today: "On a normal Saturday, the trains run at least hourly from Shrewsbury to Crewe until 11.30pm with several going onto Manchester. The last Manchester/ express to Crewe is 4.55pm, there is a gap until 6.25pm and then a five-hour gap until the final train slow train to Crewe at 11.30pm. This means that all the local stations such as Wem and Whitchurch will also lose most of their evening trains.
"Later journeys from Shrewsbury to Manchester are possible at 6.27pm, via Chester or a few via Wolverhampton. But these take an hour longer than the normal trains and don't call at Wilmslow for Manchester Airport. Anyone with late evening flights or hotels for Sunday early flights needs to travel early.
"The alterations also affect longer journeys from the south to Shrewsbury, there will be no departures from Hereford after 6.27pm.
"Southbound is slightly better. Last train from Shrewsbury to Hereford and South Wales is 7.58pm - two hours earlier than normal last train. All later trains are cancelled – four hours earlier than the normal last service from Crewe to Shrewsbury and again, anyone landing at Manchester Airport in the evening will need a Plan B."
Gareth Thomas, Director for Arriva Trains Wales said: “UEFA Champions League will be one of the most watched sporting events in the world in 2017, and as a result, we have worked closely with our partners in Football Association of Wales, Welsh Government, Network Rail and other agencies to deliver an unprecedented amount of additional capacity around Cardiff to support the event.
“Around 60,000 rail journeys around Cardiff are expected to be made on June 3, and in order to support this, we have had to take difficult decisions about how to provide this additional capacity. We want to do everything in our power, in conjunction with our partners, to make this historic event a success, and would encourage customers to check online to see how their journeys may be affected in order that they can plan around our service changes.”