1. ITV Report

Football fans face queues of ’90 minutes or longer’ to board trains to Wembley

Fans could be forced to queue for more than 90 minutes to catch trains (Jonathan Brady/PA) Photo: PA Archive/PA Images

Football fans could be forced to queue for longer than the length of a match if they travel to Wembley by train this weekend.

Rail bosses are warning the 38,000 Aston Villa supporters attending Saturday’s Championship play-off final against Fulham the quickest rail route between Birmingham and London will be blocked.

Public sector company Network Rail is carrying out a major signalling project between Birmingham New Street to Coventry.

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Chiltern Railways has responded by adding capacity to its slower Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone route, but fans are being told to expect queues at stations which could exceed one-and-a-half hours.

The operator’s commercial director Eleni Jordan said: “We need passengers to know that Chiltern Railways trains will be very busy, and they should allow extra time for their journey.

“Customers travelling to Wembley over the weekend should be aware that queuing systems will be in place at Birmingham Moor Street, London Marylebone and Wembley Stadium stations, and there may be queues of 90 minutes or longer in both directions.”

Extra staff will be deployed to deal with the crowds.

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Martin Frobisher, a route managing director for Network Rail, said: “Improvement work on the railway is planned years in advance, ahead of any short-term scheduling of sporting events and knowing which teams will compete in finals.

“There is never a good time to carry out big pieces of work but we plan it over bank holidays – which are traditionally quieter times – to affect the fewest number of people.”

Shrewsbury Town and Coventry City are also playing at Wembley this weekend and their fans are being urged to plan ahead due to the signalling work.