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London 2012: Visitors Angry At Overcrowded Trains

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BUSY TRAINS SPLASH
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Passengers faced crowded and uncomfortable journeys today after a service taking hundreds of fans to the Olympic football was so busy they could not get through the doors.

Just two Virgin Trains services, both full, left London this morning in time for the noon kick-off between Egypt and New Zealand at Old Trafford in Manchester.

But many Brazilians heeding official advice to allow plenty of time to get to their 3pm kick off against Belarus turned up earlier than the train firm expected, leaving fans unable to board the first service at Milton Keynes Central.

Virgin Trains said anyone who was unable to board the 8.10am service was able to get the second train, 10 minutes later.

Mario Alberto Do Silva Lopes, a Brazilian courier from London, who got on at Euston, said: "Of course they should have put more trains on.

"I have paid £75, and for what? For nothing. I am very unhappy and there are lots of people who think the same."

Bernd Muellenhof, from Hannover, Germany, said: "I have been here since Friday and there haven't been any problems with transport up until now.

"They should have put more trains on this morning. It's really busy on here."

New Zealander Renee Bigelow, who lives in north-east London, said: "I've had to sit on the cafe floor. There's a bit of camaraderie between everyone. People are making the best of the situation... £74 for a ticket is probably not right."

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  • A Virgin Trains spokesman said: "Trains from London to Manchester this morning were a great deal busier than expected. They're both full.

    "As we understand it, a large number of people travelling for the Brazil match which kicks off at 3pm turned up for these trains this morning.

    "We were expecting them to spread their journeys out, but people have decided to head up there early."

    He added that a normal Sunday service was operating, with just two trains from London arriving in Manchester before noon. Both left within 10 minutes of each other, at 8.10 and 8.20, and will arrive at 10.55 and 11.03, the firm's timetable showed. London 2012 organisers have been encouraging all supporters to get to their events early, a message constantly repeated in the run-up to and during the Olympics.

    Greater Manchester Police said on Twitter: "A reminder that the Brazil v Belarus game is the second match today, kick off 3pm, so fans advised to take their seats in plenty of time."

    A Virgin Trains spokesman added that extra trains would be put on this evening to bring spectators from Manchester back to the capital, with three trains an hour running on the route.

    There were severe delays around lunchtime on the Tube's Hammersmith & City line between Moorgate and Barking due to an earlier signal failure at Bromley-By-Bow in east London.

    This signal failure also led to minor delays on the Underground's District line.

    Also, the Docklands Light Railway was suspended for a time mid-day between Deptford Bridge and Lewisham due to a suspect vehicle at Lewisham in south-east London.

    The Association of Train Operating Companies and Network Rail said 63% more seats were available today than on a typical Sunday on mainline rail services.

    In total, there were more than 1.1 million more seats on offer today than a normal Sunday. The two companies said that as at midday today, 95% of services were running to schedule across the network.

    More than 300 extra customer information screens have been set up at stations in and around London to provide passengers with the most up-to-date travel information.

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