South East Wales

Champions League final: More trains to avoid 'embarrassment'

A high-speed Inter City train arrives at Cardiff Central Station

Champions League football fans have been promised 21 post-match high speed trains from Cardiff to "avoid the embarrassment" of a repeat of the Rugby World Cup travel chaos.

About 60,000 travellers are expected to pass through Cardiff Central station following the 3 June showpiece.

Economy Secretary Ken Skates said Wales had "learned lessons" after an inquiry into the long delays in 2015.

The Welsh Government has "taken on board" the risk of reputational damage.

Wales also wants to bid to European football's governing body Uefa for a second Champions League final if this one is a success.

"If we deliver the Champions League well and Uefa are content, it will place us in a good position to bid for the final again," Mr Skates told the BBC.

Rugby supporters queued for up to four hours after the Ireland v Canada World Cup game in September 2015 and Great Western Railway apologised for underestimating passenger numbers.

Image caption Rugby fans queued for up to four hours following one Rugby World Cup game in Cardiff in 2015

"The scale of activity for the Champions League final is unprecedented and travel management logistics are on a different scale," said Mr Skates.

"There will be 15,000 more passenger spaces post-match than was at the Rugby World Cup, that is a huge increase in the number of places on trains.

"We're also going to have significant increase in capacity for trains to other parts of the UK where we know people are going to be staying such as Birmingham and Bristol."

"In terms of rail and the need to avoid any embarrassment, there is a joint working group involving all of the rail operators and Network Rail."

Real Madrid and Juventus are in commanding positions to reach the final after beating Atletico Madrid and Monaco respectively in the first leg of the semi-finals.

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Media caption200 million will watch Champions League final from Cardiff

Network Rail said it was "fully on board" and the Welsh Government has been promised there will be no network disruptions or upgrade work taking place to minimise the risk of delays.

Bruce Williamson of Railway campaign group Railfuture said: "The reputational damage not having the required transport capacity after such a major international sporting event could be huge and extremely detrimental to Wales.

"We're glad Wales is placing so much emphasis on railway journeys and we hope, for their sake, they have learned from their mistakes as it could counter-productive to attracting more major events in the future."

As well as rail passengers, an estimated 25,000 people are expected to fly in and out of airports in Cardiff, Birmingham and Bristol.

Also, about 1,250 coaches will bring passengers in and out of Cardiff on 3 June.

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