No trains for derby day clash
FOOTBALL fans will face major disruption to their travel arrangements when Ipswich Town visit arch rivals Norwich City, it emerged today.
FOOTBALL fans will face major disruption to their travel arrangements when Ipswich Town visit arch rivals Norwich City, it emerged today
Train services between Ipswich and Norwich will not be running when the two clubs meet for the first time this season.
The disruption means Ipswich Town fans travelling to Carrow Road on Sunday, December 7, for the 1.15pm kick-off, will not be able to use the usual football special train and will need to tackle the A140 to watch the game.
The travel problems are the result of engineering work which is being carried out on the route by Network Rail, meaning National Express services will not be operating.
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Instead there will be a limited coach replacement service while Ipswich Town has made arrangements for more official coach travel spots.
A spokeswoman for National Express East Anglia said: “Network Rail planned this work many months in advance.
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“We have taken a pro-active stance with Ipswich Town Football Club to ensure that alternative arrangements are communicated to their supporters well in advance of the match.
“We are sorry we are unable to run the usual football trains. Network Rail is investing a significant amount in improving the network.”
Meanwhile a spokesman for Network Rail added: “Engineering works are planned 12 to 18 months in advance and prior to football fixtures being set.
“The railway network operates 24/7 and important improvement works take place most weekends across the country, as do sporting events.
“It would be impractical to plan around this.”
Liz Edwards, chairwoman of the Ipswich Town Supporters Club, said: “It is completely crazy to close the rail line when it is the obvious way to transport the majority of fans to the match at Norwich.
“From a safety and stewarding viewpoint, there have to be major concerns, as most Town fans will no doubt choose to drive rather than rely on there being adequate capacity on replacement buses. With many more people driving, and parking all around Norwich, it will be much harder for police to manage the match.
“Historically they have insisted on it being a lunchtime kick-off, and they escort the vast majority of Town fans from the station to the ground and back, yet this time that simply will not work.
“We will see large numbers of Town fans mixing with home fans before and after the game all around Norwich, with consequent increased risk of disorder.
“Worse still, line closures hugely increase journey times, making it even more difficult than usual for fans from outside of Ipswich to get to the game at all.”