Football fan forced to take night bus for eight hours to watch match due to train strikes
Travelers attending major events this weekend, such as football matches and concerts, are being forced to change or cancel their plans as rail strikes bring the country to a standstill.
One football fan said he would have to take an eight-hour Megabus overnight to kick off on Saturday, while others will no longer be able to attend the events they bought tickets for.
On Saturday, train drivers represented by the Aslef union will come out to protest against a wage offer which the union says does not keep pace with the rising cost of living.
Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said the strike was a ‘last resort’ but argued the workers had been ‘forced into the job by the companies, who say they were pushed into it by the Tory government’ .
The strike will affect nine railway companies, including Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, Greater Anglia and Great Western Railway.
Major rail routes across the country will have no trains running on Saturday, while London Euston and Birmingham New Street will be completely closed to passengers.
Morgan Nock, who lives near Crewe and supports Scottish football team Livingston, was among those who saw his train cancelled.
Mr Nock had planned to take the train to watch Livingston play Hibernian at home, but has now been forced to book an eight-and-a-half-hour bus ride to Livingston to kick off 15 hours.
The journey will begin with him taking a bus to Manchester on Friday evening, before boarding a 2.45am Megabus from Manchester to Glasgow and then on to Livingston.
To get home, Mr Nock takes a bus which leaves Glasgow at 11pm on Saturday and will take him to Manchester at 3am on Sunday morning, but he still does not know how he will get back from Manchester.
“I booked [the train tickets] in June. They say to book in advance to get the cheapest fares, but in fact it cost me twice as much to take a bus at two in the morning instead of the train,” he said . I.
Overall, the trip cost Mr Nock £57, compared to the £26 he had originally paid for his return journey by train. Mr Nock will get a refund for his train ticket, but he said he had to wait 28 days to get his money back.
Mr Nock said he must have already missed a game two weeks ago when his train was canceled the night before.
However, while he is doing everything in his power to make football on Saturday, others have had to cancel their plans entirely.
A couple said I they would now miss a gig in London on Saturday for which they had paid around £1,000 each.
Richard Mathias, who lives just outside Liverpool, had bought his wife tickets to see Coldplay at Wembley, where they planned to share a box at the stadium with friends, who also travel from different parts of the UK.
Mr Mathias said the group had planned a “full experience”, which included a trip to the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in the afternoon.
He and his wife planned to take the two-hour train from Liverpool to London, to get them to London before noon, but that was cancelled.
Their only other option is to drive, but Mr Mathias thinks it will be an ‘absolute horror show’ on the roads, meaning they are expected to leave at six in the morning and return much later on Sunday.
“We just don’t have the child care coverage to do that now,” he said. “For something that was very easy to do – only two hours out and two hours back – that’s just not feasible for us now.”
“It’s getting to the point where you have to throw in the towel and say it’s more trouble than it’s worth now.”
Coldplay were forced to postpone one of their London shows at Wembley, which was due to take place on Friday August 19, due to the separate Tube strikes that occurred that day.
Gaz Vorley and her boyfriend were planning to travel from London to Margate to watch the Sugababes Margate Pride title on Saturday.
They had already bought tickets for the event, which cost around £30 each, but do not think they will be able to go because of the train strikes.
“I think now I’m starting to accept that it’s not really going to happen,” he said. I. “I think I’ll probably lose the money I spent on the ticket.”
Mr Vorley, who describes himself as a ‘huge’ Sugababes fan, considered traveling to Margate on Friday and staying until Sunday, but could not find an available hotel room.
He said other options, like Airbnb, were “so expensive” for this weekend.
“It’s kind of gross,” he said. “It’s also not fun to lose 60 pounds you’ve spent on tickets.”