Watch: rugby fans ‘crammed in like sardines’ on match day train
Transport for Wales Rail is under fire for not laying on enough trains on match day after a video on social media shows carriages packed with rugby fans.
The video, which appears to show fans on the Milford Haven to Cardiff train, standing shoulder to shoulder in the aisles, was posted on Twitter today.
Leila Al-Badawi, who is a documentary film maker, posted the short clip and asked Transport for Wales Rail (TfWR) why, with six weeks planning for the event people on the train were ‘crammed like sardines,’ and said the conditions could lead to a ‘super spreader event.’
TfWR responded to her comments saying: “Morning. I’m sorry that you have had to contact us today. I have often travelled on this line during events and understand how busy it can be. With this being the first event since the pandemic we’re expecting big crowds entering the city.
“On a normal Saturday, we would usually see 29,000 passengers, but on an Event Day, we see around 40,000. We do provide as much capacity as we can, to help with this increase in passenger numbers.
“We have worked hard to ensure all available carriages are in use, please accept my apologies for any discomfort”
Crammed like sardines – train from Milford Haven to Cardiff for a super spreader event. @tfwrail the rugby had been planned for 6 weeks. This is shocking – West wales has the highest infection rate in the whole of UK pic.twitter.com/97wGQFHIv6
— Leila Al-Baldawi (@LeilaBaldawi) October 30, 2021
While a variety of responses point to the fact that fans would need to carry a COVID passport to attend the game, concerns were raised that many passengers will be travelling to Cardiff for a day out rather than ticket holders for the match and may not be double vaccinated or in possession of a negative test result.
The video also shows that many passengers weren’t wearing masks, a precaution which remains mandatory on public transport and in public places in Wales, and questions were asked about enforcement of the rules.
TfWR responded “We’re working closely with The British Transport Police who are patrolling our network and are responsible for the enforcement of wearing masks onboard. Additionally, to help with compliance we have security teams at key locations reminding customers of their responsibilities.”
Wales, who are hosting four Autumn Nations Tests across October and November, play the All Blacks today at the Principality Stadium in the first capacity attendance event.
To gain admittance to the stadium fans will have to produce a COVID pass proving they are double-jabbed, or provide a negative lateral flow test taken up to 48 hours before the game to be allowed in.
Principality Stadium manager Mark Williams said: “We cannot stress strongly enough that supporters need to ensure that they arrive at the ground with the necessary NHS Covid Pass or relevant text or email.”
The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) confirmed that supporters will be ‘spot-checked’ on their virus status before permitted entry to the four internationals against New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji and Australia.
Wales boss Wayne Pivac said: “This virus is as strong as it ever was in terms of its numbers in the community, so there is so much at risk in these games in terms of what is at stake in terms of the revenues.
“We’ll be in a strict bubble even if the public can do what they do.”
Far from over
Rates of coronavirus in Wales are currently the highest in the UK and there is still some question as to whether they have peaked.
Announcing the outcome of the latest three-week review of the coronavirus regulations, the First Minister confirmed Wales will remain at alert level zero but some extra measures will be taken to protect people’s health.
The First Minister said Wales is facing a serious situation and that unless rates begin to fall over the next three weeks, Ministers will have to consider reintroducing some restrictions at the next review to bring the spread of the virus under control.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Over the past three weeks, coronavirus cases have risen sharply to the highest rates we have seen since the pandemic began and more people are falling so seriously ill that they need hospital treatment.
“All this means that the pandemic is far from over. We need to take more action now to strengthen the measures we have in place at alert level zero to prevent coronavirus spreading even further and more people falling seriously ill.”
The Welsh Government continues to encourage everyone to work from home wherever possible and to remind everyone of the legal requirement to wear a face covering in indoor public places.