July 23 2014 Latest news:
By Alan Davies
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Rail company First Capital Connect (FCC) will be laying on extra late-night trains and additional carriages through Welwyn Hatfield over the Sonisphere Festival weekend.
The international touring music festival takes place at Knebworth Park over the weekend of Friday, July 4 to Sunday, July 6.
Sonisphere festival-goers should travel via Stevenage station.
Large numbers of people with camping equipment are expected to arrive on Thursday, July 3 and to leave on Monday, July 7, with additional day ticket holders arriving over the weekend.
FCC is organising extra trains and rostering additional staff across the Great Northern route on the Saturday and Sunday between Stevenage and London so Sonisphere day ticket holders can catch all of Iron Maiden and Metallica’s headline sets on those nights.
On Saturday, July 4, three additional services will run from Stevenage at 11.25pm, 12.35am and 1.07am, while after Metallica’s Sunday night set there will be extra trains in the early hours of Monday morning at 12.05am, 12.34am and 12.55am.
There will also be an extra train running on Monday at 10.12am to Finsbury Park and King’s Cross only.
Trains on the Great Northern route from Stevenage into London through Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield and Potters Bar are normally four carriages long.
However, between Thursday, July 3 and Monday, July 7, FCC is adding carriages to selected services running between Cambridge and London, in some cases tripling them so that they have 12 carriages.
These will help meet the expected extra demand placed on services due to the Wireless Festival taking place at Finsbury Park over the same weekend as Sonisphere, the rock festival at Knebworth, and the Tour de France, a stage of which begins in Cambridge on Monday, July 7.
First Capital Connect will also be bringing in extra staff on the route for the duration of the festival weekend.
Keith Jipps, FCC’s customer service director, said: “We have a long weekend of music festivals ahead of us on the Great Northern route followed on the Monday by one of the world’s greatest sporting events – Stage 3 of the Tour de France, which is taking place on a busy working day.
“We have worked really hard with the organisers, local councils and other transport operators to develop a comprehensive plan to manage the crowds which also involves many longer trains and, wherever possible, additional services at key times.
“But passengers must plan ahead and follow the advice on our website or speak to a member of station staff.
“We’ll have more people on hand to help, including volunteer ‘Tour Makers’, reminiscent of the Games Makers of the Olympics.”
Due to rail services being lengthened for the Tour de France on Monday, July 7, there will also be longer trains to London at 12.06pm, 1.06pm, 2.06pm and 3.06pm and to Cambridge at 11.17am, 12.17pm and 1.17pm.
With the Wireless Festival headlined by Drake, Kanye West and Bruno Mars taking place in London over the same July weekend as Sonisphere, Finsbury Park station is expected to be much busier than normal on all three evenings, and, from around 9pm, a queuing system will be in place for customers wishing to access Tube services.
Longer trains will be running on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with all Hertford North and Welwyn Garden City services to and from Finsbury Park six carriages long on Friday evening and all day Saturday and Sunday, instead of the usual three carriages.
There will also be extra late-night services from Finsbury Park to London on the Friday and Saturday.
The rail operator is urging passengers to buy and collect tickets in advance and to visit First Capital Connect’s website to plan ahead.