Trains get fans to park late and grumpy

By Derek Cheng

Rugby fans who went by train to Auckland's rugby clash with the Lions last night described the service as embarrassing after standing in packed, stationary carriages and getting to Eden Park after kick-off.

Claire Teirney of St Heliers said she left from Newmarket at 6.25pm and arrived in Kingsland, a short walk from the ground, at 7.20pm. The game started at 7.10pm.

She called the rail service "an embarrassment, a complete shambles".

"I've been to international rugby games in Auckland last year and thought they would have fixed the problems, but they obviously haven't ... It was pretty much a disaster."

Angela Kenealy, of Remuera, waited 15 minutes inside a stationary, packed train carriage before it left Britomart about 6.20pm.

"Then it stopped at Newmarket for five minutes and we didn't see anyone get on or off."

She did not arrive at Kingsland until 7.20pm. "And there were fans waiting for trains behind us."

Angela Kenealy said she was standing in the train next to two Welshmen and an Englishman, who were angry.

"They were saying that any other city in the world would never have done this ... It raises huge questions."

A spokeswoman for rail operator Connex, Tessa Marjoram, said heavy passenger numbers had delayed two trains by 15 minutes.

"But as far as we're aware, people leaving before 6.40pm got to Kingsland before 7pm.

"It's very difficult to move that number of people in that time, but most people got here early as we requested."

Connex had a special deal of $2 for a return trip to the game from Britomart and Newmarket, and added extra services for the evening.

Tessa Marjoram said about 7000 passengers passed through Britomart.

One fan said the service did not improve after the game.

Michael Luxford said just one train was waiting at Kingsland. Lots of people had given up and set off on foot, hoping to catch a bus.

Stagecoach spokesman Russell Turnbull said apart from a few traffic delays on the Harbour Bridge and on Mt Eden Rd, buses had run smoothly.

Police reported no road traffic congestion or accidents and described fans as fans orderly and good natured.

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