Soccer fans face rail chaos on derby day
RICHARD BALLS Football fans already infuriated by an early morning kick-off for the Norwich v Ipswich Town derby clash on Sunday had insult added to injury today after it was announced that vital train services have been cancelled.
Football fans already infuriated by an early morning kick-off for the Norwich v Ipswich Town derby clash on Sunday had insult added to injury today after it was announced that vital train services have been cancelled.
Trains into Norwich from Cromer, Yarmouth and Lowestoft will be replaced by buses because of engineering work being carried out by Network Rail on Sunday - the day of the East Anglian derby at Carrow Road, which kicks off at 11.15am.
Operator 'one' said it was aware that demand for services was always greater on match days, but due to the work it had been forced to run bus only services on these routes into the city.
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Fans were urged to check arrangements in advance of the game - which is being televised live by Sky Sports - and consider using alternative forms of transport to get there.
The usual park-and-ride service into Norwich from Postwick is also unavailable on Sunday, although special services will be laid on from the airport and Thickthorn for the occasion.
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A spokesman for Norwich City said the club was aware of the issues regarding train services on Sunday which coincided with “a massive event on the football calendar on both sides of the Norfolk border”.
“In the past year, we have worked together with Norfolk County Council to promote Park and Ride services especially in the provision of new additional services for Sunday and evening games. We hope fans take advantage of these special services.
“Elsewhere, Norwich City continues to actively promote a number of initiatives in a bid to make it easier for our supporters to get to and from games.”
Police have meanwhile urged Norwich City and Ipswich Town fans to keep the derby clash at Carrow Road trouble-free after weeks of pre-planning for the grudge fixture.
The big match kicks off at 11.15am on Sunday - the earliest the fixture has ever been held - and officers will be policing the ground and the surrounding area before, during and after the game.
Norwich are just one point ahead of their arch rivals going into the match and victory for either side would leave them an outside chance of grabbing a place in the Championships play-offs.
Norwich police has been working in conjunction with the Ipswich Town supporters' groups, Norwich City, British Transport Police and Suffolk Constabulary to make sure the event is well co-ordinated and runs as smoothly as possible.
Sup Jim Smerdon said: “We recognise that this is a big game of the year which thousands of spectators will be looking forward to. We appreciate that there will be high spirits among both sets of fans and policing will be firm but fair to ensure it is a safe day out for everyone.
“We would urge all fans to act in a responsible manner so all parties can enjoy the day. We will deal positively with any problems but we know the majority of fans wan t to support their team and we are expecting a trouble-free environment as we saw on the last derby day in Norwich in March 2004. This is a family occasion for fans of all ages.”
Special Park and Ride services will be in operation for the big match. They will run from the Airport and Thickthorn sites at 9.30am, 9.50am, 10.10am and 10.30am. After the game, buses will return to Thickthorn from the bus stop near Morrisons at 1.15pm, 1.25pm, 1.45pm and 1.55pm.
Buses will return to the Airport site from Stand A on Castle Meadow at the same times. No services will run to either site after this time.
Drivers can wither park at either of the two sites for £3 on Sunday, with up to eight people (five adults and three children) able to travel to and from the city centre. There will be no service this Sunday from the Postwick park and ride site which usually serves the football club.
t Bus services from Yarmouth to Norwich on Sunday will depart at: 08.20 arriving at 09.05; 09.22 arriving at 10.07am; 09.22am (via Acle, Lingwood and Brundall) arriving at 10.22, and 10.20 arriving at 11.05. A service from Lowestoft to Norwich leaves at 09.50 arriving at 10.40.
After the match, buses from Norwich to Yarmouth will generally run hourly from 13.56, while the first available service from Norwich to Lowestoft will be at 14.57.
You can also check the 'one' website at www.onerailway.com or call national Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50 before you travel.