Cardiff Central - Match/Event days

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by crispy1978, 8 Aug 2015.

  1. crispy1978

    crispy1978 Member

    Messages:
    1,037
    Joined:
    4 Feb 2013
    Location:
    Scarborough
    Firstly - I'm not familiar at all with Cardiff Central station, but following ATW on Twitter there seems to be all manner of organisation (or organised chaos!) and confusion.

    How big is the station, and is this a common theme? There seem to be a lot of disgruntled passengers as well.

    Have I also seen before that Queen Street station is often closed during the events too?

    Does it just look worse than it is or should consideration have been paid to this when the stadium was built?
     
  2. Registered users do not see these banners - join or log in today!

    Rail Forums

     
  3. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

    Messages:
    4,549
    Joined:
    23 Mar 2013
    Location:
    Powys
    ATW, NR and BTP have a very good system at Cardiff Central on match/event days, with queuing outside the station building as it is not very big. It seems to have worked well for a few years now.
    Yes, Queen St is closed, so as to prevent fans short-cutting the queues.
    There are always people who complain but it would be MUCH worse if the system was not there.
     
  4. DanTrainMan185

    DanTrainMan185 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,765
    Joined:
    25 Jul 2011
    Location:
    Cardiff/Bristol
    Furthermore, Queen Street is just too small to handle all those crowds.

    I personally find the queueing system a real pain in the back passage, but it is there for a reason!

    Outside the station, there are a series of queues with large headboards grouping destinations together. Despite all mainline trains calling at Newport, Newport has its own queue, thus to prevent overcrowding on long distance services. Bristol, London, West Wales and the Valleys are other examples, as well as the Vale of Glamorgan. Today, rather unusually, the Ebbw Vale queue was on the entrance to the car park off Wood Street, thus clearly departing from platform 0.
     
  5. deltic

    deltic Established Member

    Messages:
    2,041
    Joined:
    8 Feb 2010
    I never understood why Queen Street closes - is it not possible to allow passengers for a couple of the Valley branchess to use it to reduce the volumes using Central or for passengers travelling to Penarth and Barry or would it still be overwhelmed?
     
  6. PHILIPE

    PHILIPE Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,163
    Joined:
    14 Nov 2011
    Location:
    Caerphilly
    It's already been explained and has been many times in previous threads why.
    Some of the platforms are narrow and people would just go there for anywhere just resulting in a safety issue.
     
  7. Michael.Y

    Michael.Y Established Member

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    14 Oct 2011
    Not always true. Some trains have special stop orders, especially FGW and XC services going to England, to bypass Newport after matches, especially late night events such as 7:45 Wales football games and/or special trains like the WAG Footex. Anecdotal evidence suggests some people, seeing a shorter queue for Crewe/Gloucester/London etc, have been caught out ending up at Severn Tunnel or even Swindon sometimes.

    For disgruntled passengers, read tired and emotional impatient passengers, in the most. Also "people who thought it would be a good idea to come to Cardiff for sundry purposes on a day when Cardiff City are playing at home and Wales have sold out the Millennium Stadium and decide not to leave before 4:30pm".

    The system works well - it is tried, tested and successful. The only times it has experienced problems is when it rains and during the Olympics a couple of football matches went into extra time and penalties, meaning special trains had to leave before the game ended.

    Queen Street is closed for well-established and entirely justifiable safety reasons.

    Unsurprisingly, it was covered in the BBC Railway documentary a couple of years ago.

    https://youtu.be/6Wki6GetWUA?t=24m53s
     
  8. crispy1978

    crispy1978 Member

    Messages:
    1,037
    Joined:
    4 Feb 2013
    Location:
    Scarborough
    Thanks for the explanation - I just saw the picture of the queuing system on Twitter and thought it looked convoluted and somewhat unique (are there any other stations who have systems in place like this?)

    Will have a look at the YouTube link too for a closer look.

    So, how does a queuing system (presumably FIFO basis?) work with reserved tickets, or can you simply not get them for these services?
     
  9. Hadders

    Hadders Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    6,891
    Joined:
    27 Apr 2011
    Reservations are effectively cancelled. I few years back I went to the Heineken Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium. I had a reservation for a London Bound train after the match. It was just a case of queuing and getting on a London bound train when you could.

    The queue looks bad but it does move. IIRC I ended up standing to Swindon before I managed to get a seat.

    At times like this the railway just want to move people effectively. I can't remember if anyone checked my ticket once I reached the head of the queue but it would only be a check to make sure I held a ticket to London, nothing like checking the minutiae of exactly which train I should be on etc.
     
  10. Jonny

    Jonny Established Member

    Messages:
    2,063
    Joined:
    10 Feb 2011
    More to the point, how do they actually enforce it?
     
  11. Michael.Y

    Michael.Y Established Member

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    14 Oct 2011
    The queuing system? Combination of barriers, contracted security staff in yellow bibs and large pointy spears.
     
  12. Hadders

    Hadders Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    6,891
    Joined:
    27 Apr 2011
    There are separate queues for each destination with barriers being used to separate the queues.

    It's also worth pointing out that passenger perception of the queues depends on how well your team has done int he match. Wales were hammered yesterday so it's hardly surprising that the crowd were a bit fed up on the way home!
     
  13. crispy1978

    crispy1978 Member

    Messages:
    1,037
    Joined:
    4 Feb 2013
    Location:
    Scarborough
    People on here seem happy with it, so I'm guessing it works adequately for the purpose.

    To the untrained eye, it just looked all a bit confusing - but I guess so long as it works. Looking at the map for Cardiff there's many different branch lines, etc to cope with - so I guess that needs plenty of different queues to cope with this!
     
  14. WesternS

    WesternS Member

    Messages:
    43
    Joined:
    5 Aug 2015
    Interested to see this thread - always wanted to comment somewhere on these arrangements..... they are from one experience (the 2011 Heineken Final), but do highlight the potential issues with this system, which itself is a good and sensible idea. It keeps the station, and more importantly the platforms, free and allows large groups to be held where there's room for them.

    The issue is if you're not going to the more 'popular' destinations (popular being 'more trains/capacity' or 'more well-known'), so if the original poster is going to London, the Valleys or towards Swansea, then you'll probably be ok. Be careful if you're heading somewhere like Birmingham or Shrewsbury....

    There are a number of queues, all heading with destinations. Ours was Birmingham, and with Northampton having been in the final, was busy. There was also a separate queue for Gloucester. Most of those heading back to Birmingham knew that the XC trains to/from Birmingham were (a) relatively infrequent, and (b) only 3 carriages. Known because (i) we'd had to book days in advance to get a ticket on the hourly (or less) XC BHM-CC Saturday service and (b) we'd stood all the way from New St to Cardiff. So, we knew that the two XC trains going all the way to Birmingham would be busy and were in the appointed queue in good time - and (having lost) saw no point in being over-inebriated......

    All well and good until the XC Birmingham train is due to arrive, which you can see. Unfortunately the security staff fill this one with people in the Gloucester queue and don't let anyone from the Birmingham queue on it. Great if you live in Gloucester as indeed the train does stop there. Not so good as by this time (8pm) there are no/few trains going anywhere else but west, up the Valleys or to London. And no one is going to pay the FGW walk-up fare to travel to London - but then you can't even get to the ticket office to buy a ticket either under this system.

    So, by about 9pm, there's only one queue with any people (200 odd) left outside the station. And then the queue starts getting a little peed-off with the situation - we'd been there for over an hour going nowhere and knowing there were no more trains north of Gloucester. Needless to say, BTP start flexing their muscles at this point, and probably have a quiet word with the station staff about moving this problem somewhere else.

    The last train (ATW?) to Gloucester is, of course, the preferred solution. Everyone decides to take it - after all, this must be an issue known by XC - and they'll be some provision at Gloucester surely ? Rammed to the gunwales, the two car 158 sets off (I think it was a Sprinter of some description) and arrives finally, some 30 minutes late in Gloucester. No one gets off - after all, everyone who wanted to disembark there did it off the XC Birmingham train. The Gloucester station guy said "he wondered why everyone got off the earlier XC train and it was very empty northwards. I was expecting it to be full."

    However, the ATW driver gets off, and tries to get everyone off. Which obviously they're fairly loath to do. So, after some persuasion (and I'm not sure how), the train then goes forward to Cheltenham Spa - probably since it has to turn round there or something. So we all go up to Cheltenham, where upon we all besiege the poor ?FGW? station staff waiting to close up with the issue. Around 70 decide to call taxis and pay for themselves to go somewhere further north. The remaining 130-odd wait on the platform in a fairly mutinous mood. It's now about 11.30pm.

    Meanwhile the train has turned round and comes back into the platform. The staff announces that it's going back to Gloucester where the station staff are beginning to organise coach transport back to Birmingham. All on the train on the strength of this promise, and back to Gloucester. Everyone gets off, and then looks for the station staff.

    Amazingly, FGW (I think) have two or three staff there, along with the inevitable BTP presence. By this time, it's no longer a public order issue, but one of badly-let down customers with young kids (7/8 year old boys in Saints kit etc) wanting to get home.

    And bless 'em, fGW Gloucester staff are as good as their word. They announce at about 00.15 that there's a bus on the way from Bristol Parkway and there'll also be taxis from outside the station. Those in the know about where Parkway is compared to Gloucester head immediately outside for the taxi where within 10 minutes we cram 5 in a shared cab and head north (never covered the M5 between Gloucester and Birmingham so fast). Finally get home to Birmingham at 01.30 on the Sunday morning.

    Congratulations are to the fGW staff at Cheltenham and Gloucester (especially) for the way they handled a problem not created by them or their company. Also hats off the ATW Sprinter driver and guard - didn't have to take us back to Gloucester but did. XC (who I really do think would benefit from some fare and service competition - and I do like the even hours one company and odd hours another company idea for them) and the Cardiff station queue management people should be ashamed, and I hope fGW hit them for the costs of shipping 130 odd people around.

    Lessons ? Next time I'll stand in the Gloucester queue. And I now also drive to Gloucester and get the train to Cardiff from there (which is also far far cheaper than from New St).

    So beware !
     
    Last edited: 9 Aug 2015
  15. StarCrossing

    StarCrossing Member

    Messages:
    73
    Joined:
    27 Jul 2015
    Not much use to you after the event of course, but in my experience the trick here is to get in the London queue, get one of the half-hourly FGW HSTs to Bristol Parkway, and then change onto XC to Birmingham. It's a slight detour, but the HSTs are so much better than the 170s for clearing the queue.

    This also works if you're going to Bristol Temple Meads.

    I went to Twickenham for the first time this year and the arrangements there felt much less organised and actually quite dangerous in comparison to Cardiff.
     
  16. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

    Messages:
    4,549
    Joined:
    23 Mar 2013
    Location:
    Powys
    I understand that several Station Managers and BTP from stations that get similar "problems" are now looking at the Cardiff system and designing something similar for their places.
     
  17. WesternS

    WesternS Member

    Messages:
    43
    Joined:
    5 Aug 2015
    Yes, I'd agree that the Twickenham experience does seem a lot less controlled/managed than Cardiff. Probably due to less storage (road) space and more people using the train option ? After one experience trying to get back to London, usually go to Staines and the other way from the hordes heading into London. Not quite sure how LB Richmond allowed the expansion(s) with the current public transport provision - perhaps they like the people walking to/from Rchmond along the A316 ?

    As for the Cardiff thing, I seem to recall that we were either worried about being done by XC for excess fares on the Parkway/Cheltenham Spa leg or the line was closed at Cam or somewhere for maintenance. Anyhow, BTP were by that stage unhappy about anyone leaving the Birmingham queue and were talking about handing out fixed penalty public order fines (or whatever they were) ! Stade de France I think were the best organised I've been to, although helped by plenty of space, frequent and large capacity trains, two lines (RER B and D), and in a capital city with later hours of train operation.
     
  18. crispy1978

    crispy1978 Member

    Messages:
    1,037
    Joined:
    4 Feb 2013
    Location:
    Scarborough
    Is there a poster or similar anyone knows of for the Twickenham system? Be interested to see it.
     
  19. Envoy

    Envoy Established Member

    Messages:
    1,371
    Joined:
    29 Aug 2014
    The 2 / 3 coach 170's at hourly frequencies on the Cardiff > Birmingham run are totally inadequate for normal traffic let alone special events. Clearly, what should get priority are people travelling to Birmingham (& beyond) over those just going as far as Cheltenham/ Gloucester.
     
  20. WesternS

    WesternS Member

    Messages:
    43
    Joined:
    5 Aug 2015

    At the risk of monopolising this thread, I contrast the Cardiff and Twickenham 'systems' as dealing with slightly different problems. Twickenham (and I assume we're talking about the London Road station) is (a) all above ground and (b) only has trains in two directions and destinations [east to Waterloo/CJ and west to Staines/Feltham and the Kingston loop]. On match days at Twickenham, the 'system' is really one of controlling access to the platforms and filling them up from the storage space (London Road itself) once a train has departed. TfL do the same at Oval tube station and ScotRail (in the rare event of a large Glasgow Warriors crowd) at Scotstoun. West-bound at Twickenham also has similar platform access control with storage external to the station, but as the demand is much less, this is removed much faster. Lots of people go for a pint in Twickenham town purely to wait for the queue to shrink. Not sure what happens at St Margaret's since never used it for a game.

    Cardiff has a different problem - caused by the design of the station itself, particularly the cross-station underground passage with what seems to be only two entries/exits and ramps from this to the platforms. What compounds the challenge is the much greater number of destinations for trains from the station (not just east to London or west to Swansea). I have no doubt that Cardiff Central station staff live in fear of a full platform of passengers, a late-announed platform change and the underground passage already full of people. Ibrox 1971 and Hillsborough 1989 all over again. (Off topic I know, but the lower Leppings Lane end at Hillsborough still seems a really dangerous place 20 years on - thank goodness the pitch-side fences have gone.)

    The Cardiff system works, albeit with some hic-cups as I found, and when properly managed deals with both the queues and manages the potential risk. What happens at the south side (non-city centre) entrance to the station on match days would be interesting to know - is that closed like Queen St ?

    It's a bit confusing when you first come into Cardiff going to the game as it's empty and the temporary barriers seem to be over-kill. After the match, when it's full, it's obvious how it works. Never been in it in when it's been hosing down with rain though - must be miserable.

    I can't think where else in the UK has the same demand/crowd, station design and destination variety that would require the Cardiff solution (?Nottingham perhaps?) - the Twickenham/Oval/Scotstoun (and no doubt Arsenal/Finsbury Park, White Hart Lane etc) solutions would seem to be adequate for most ? As noted, another carriage on the 170's would be very helpful !
     
  21. hilly

    hilly Member

    Messages:
    35
    Joined:
    12 Dec 2012
    The main (bus station) entrance is used for main line destinations with queues for westbound on one side and eastbound on the other (and a split in the passageway between platforms 1/2(eastbound) and 3/4(westbound). The south entrance is used for valley destinations with queues for different destination groups (penarth/barry/vale), (rhymney/coryton), (taff/rhondda). I believe anyone stupid enough to change trains between valley and mainline at these times are allowed to use the passageway.
     
  22. PHILIPE

    PHILIPE Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,163
    Joined:
    14 Nov 2011
    Location:
    Caerphilly
    No. Most of the Branch lines you refer to are part of the Cardiff Valley Network and there is just 1 queue to use Platforms 6 & 7 exclusively.
     
  23. WesternS

    WesternS Member

    Messages:
    43
    Joined:
    5 Aug 2015
    Thank you - that's useful to know. And now I know why on the Leinster-Northampton finals day, the bus station side was heaving.

    As an aside, anyone ever used the DART from Lansdowne Road after a match ? Looks so awful a prospect that it's always worth the dander up to Pembroke Road for a pint or two. Or the walk back all the way to Connolly.
     
    Last edited: 9 Aug 2015
  24. Hornet

    Hornet Member

    Messages:
    720
    Joined:
    16 Jul 2013
    As a Leinster Supporter :D I would advise that your route away from LR depends on where you sit. My season ticket has me in the East Stand for the couple of games we play there. I avoid the DART like the plague. Instead I walk up alongside the river past the Ringsend dog track, then hang a left over the river bridge and walk down past Ringsend Bus Depot to the Bus Stop, just past the petrol station. Any bus from that stop takes you into town. You could also walk down to Ballsbridge and pick up a 4 or 7 into town. There has been a lot of problems regards getting out of the new Lansdowne. Walking is your best option.

    Regards Twickenham, savvy London bound fans head for Whitton, rather than queue at Twickenham. There are free Buses to Richmond for the big games. I get the free bus back to Hounslow where you can get onto the Piccadilly Line, (or the 81 to Longford for a pint in my case)!

    I was at Cardiff for the Leinster Saints final :D. I travelled back to Heathrow by NX coach, rather than battle the queues for the Train. Strolled down to Cardiff Bay for a bite to eat and a few drinks after the game. Then back to the Bus Station for the 23:30 coach. Got the local bus from Heathrow to my folks and was in bed by 06:30. Far more civilised way of travelling. (There was 7 of us on the coach after Bristol). Did the same for the Toulon Sarries final.
     
    Last edited: 9 Aug 2015
  25. CyrusWuff

    CyrusWuff Established Member

    Messages:
    2,232
    Joined:
    20 May 2013
    Wembley Stadium, like Twickenham, has trains leaving in just two directions, but Chiltern's standard setup is to have five separate queues on the bridge:

    • Marylebone
    • Short distance
    • Medium distance
    • Long distance
    • Charter

    Exact splits depend on the event, and not all of them will have Charter train provision.
     
  26. Hadders

    Hadders Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    6,891
    Joined:
    27 Apr 2011
    I was at the 2011 Heineken Cup Final too (the less said about the result the better!). Thankfully as I live in Hertfordshire I travelled via London.

    I've always found Twickenham to be okay. Although the queue can be long it does move with a train every few minutes. It's helped by the fact that there's only really one destination - Waterloo.

    Also, I've found the best way back from Twickenham is to walk to Hounslow and pick up a SWT to Waterloo from there (take the one that doesn't go via Twickenham!). Granted it takes a bit longer but you can just walk straight into the station.
     
  27. StarCrossing

    StarCrossing Member

    Messages:
    73
    Joined:
    27 Jul 2015
    The problem I had at Twickenham was that there was only a single queue for passengers travelling away from London. I was heading towards Windsor & Eton Riverside, but the majority of passengers were heading towards Reading to get to Bath. The platform was packed with Reading passengers, despite there being no Reading train due for at least 15 minutes. To get to the Windsor train, you had to walk right along the edge of an island platform and then push through the Reading passengers to get to the other side of the platform. It felt quite dangerous and also resulted in non-Reading passengers missing their (quite empty) trains because they couldn't get onto the platform.

    This was a one-off - Bath don't get to many finals these days ;) - and there may be mitigating circumstances, but I go to a lot of sporting events and haven't come across anything this bad before.
     
  28. craigybagel

    craigybagel Established Member

    Messages:
    2,495
    Joined:
    25 Oct 2012
    The south side entrance at Cardiff Central is used as the exit - bare in mind people are still arriving at Cardiff whilst all of this is going on! As well as the barriers that form the queue system outside, there are also a set of barriers in the subway and a heavy staff presence that keep oncoming and outgoing passengers going the right way.

    Also, it I may be pedantic, Queen Street doesn't close: it remains open for passengers transferring to and from Cardiff Bay.
     
  29. Michael.Y

    Michael.Y Established Member

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    14 Oct 2011
    Access and egress is prohibited, so it's easier for ATW to say "Queen St is closed" on Twitter and on flyers. ;)

    That should not have happened and sounds like a breakdown in communication / brainfart on the part of the crowd controller on the day, who hopefully upon hearing about this incident would have been sat down with no tea and biscuits.
     
    Last edited: 10 Aug 2015
  30. WesternS

    WesternS Member

    Messages:
    43
    Joined:
    5 Aug 2015
    Re: Cardiff. It was a while ago and no doubt they've improved it since. I can say there's no problem on Cardiff Blues days ! As for Twickenham , thanks for some very useful hints and tips. As an Ulster supporter, I do hope to have better times there one day - as noted in an earlier post on this subject, the travel arrangements are coloured somewhat by how your team did :)
     
  31. PHILIPE

    PHILIPE Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,163
    Joined:
    14 Nov 2011
    Location:
    Caerphilly
    The Monster Jam (Monster Truck Racing) is taking place at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff this Saturday with the usual queueing for trains following the event but with a difference. The system at Cardiff Central is being tweaked a little in one way due to building works in Central Square. However, the big change is that passengers for the Cardiff Valleys should go to Queen St where there will be a queueing system in place there. These arrangements do not include Barry or Penarth (which are part of the Valley Network) passengers but only those travelling northwards to the actual Valleys themselves.
     

Share This Page