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Last Updated: Monday, 26 February 2007, 17:01 GMT
Fans tell of anger over Cardiff cup delay
Matchday scene at Cardiff's railway station
A signalling problem caused major delays for fans at Cardiff
About 2,000 Chelsea and Arsenal supporters missed the kick-off of the Carling Cup Final in Cardiff on Sunday because of problems on the railways. Some did not get home until Monday morning.

Dozens of angry fans have contacted the BBC News website with their stories.

Many complained about not being told what was happening but others claim to have been given false information.

Jake Evans from Nottingham said fans on a train from Hereford were wrongly told at 1430 GMT at Newport that the 1500 kick-off was going to be put back.

"There was an announcement saying kick-off had been delayed and we wouldn't miss any of the match - so everyone stayed on the train," he said.

By the time we were in our seats there was one minute of injury time in the first half left to play
Jake Evans

He said the train then pulled out of the station, stopped in a tunnel and started to fill up with diesel fumes. After a passenger told the driver about this, the train pulled out of the tunnel and stopped again.

"We eventually got to Cardiff at 3.31pm," he said. "And by the time we were in our seats there was one minute of injury time in the first half left to play."

But a spokeswoman for Arriva Trains Wales said the actual announcement by the conductor was that they were attempting to get the kick-off delayed.

She said: "In hindsight, it was not perhaps the right thing to do."

For many travelling Chelsea fans the final whistle was to mark the high point of a long day. For Arsenal supporters things went from bad to worse, as a large queue formed at Cardiff station. Some fans waited four hours for a train.

'Last Cardiff trip'

Chelsea supporter Jacob Somani, 15, travelled to Cardiff from the Midlands. Delays meant he arrived at his seat with only four minutes of the first half remaining. Getting home took eight hours.

After the game he was eventually able to board a train to Newport.

"It took about an hour to get to Newport, and I waited at that station for two to three hours before being told to catch a train to Gloucester."

There were further unscheduled changes at Gloucester, Cheltenham and Worcester stations.

We do apologise for all the disruption
Network Rail

At one stage, he said, drinks had to be passed round inside a carriage: "We needed cups of water because it was so hot and so claustrophobic.

"It is an absolute scandal. I'm only 15 and this was my first cup final but it will always be remembered for me missing the first half and taking eight hours to get home.

"I don't know who to blame, but the organisation was disgusting. Hopefully that's our last trip to Cardiff."

The delays were caused by a signal failure at Newport, causing services to stack up.

A spokesman for First Great Western, which runs services between Paddington and Cardiff said: "You should talk to Network Rail. They control the system, it was entirely connected with their operation."

Network Rail is investigating how a signalling cable was damaged. A spokeswoman said: "We do apologise for all the disruption."




SEE ALSO
Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal
25 Feb 07 |  League Cup

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