Transport for Wales (TfW) will pull one of the two trains running on the Wrexham to Bidston line on Saturday and send it to Cardiff because of the Wales v England Six Nations Rugby international.
The move means just one train will operate a two-hourly service on the line which serves a number of stations in Flintshire, a bus taking twice as long will fill the gaps left in the timetable.
TfW says it expects nearly 40% more rail passengers than a normal Saturday in Cardiff tomorrow with up to 45,000 people using trains throughout the day.
Taking trains from the Borderlands line to service stations in South Wales is nothing new, Arriva Trains Wales began the practice in 2017 when large scale sporting events were taking place in the Welsh capital, TfW has carried on in the same way.
The Wrexham Bidston Rail User Association has voiced concern over the loss of rail services tomorrow, a spokesperson said:
“The WBRUA is extremely concerned to note the loss of rail services on Wrexham-Bidston this coming Saturday when there is an international rugby match on in Cardiff. One train will continue to operate on the line providing a train every two hours.
A rail replacement bus will operate instead of the other train. Passengers using the bus will be unable to buy a rail ticket (conductors do not travel on the buses) and will find that takes twice as long as the train; indeed the next train will probably overtake it on-route!”
Previously when an international rugby match had been due to take place in Cardiff on a Saturday, the last Wrexham to Bidston service the night before would be cancelled as the train operator moves rollingstock to South Wales in preparation for the morning rush.
A spokesperson for Transport for Wales Rail Services:
“Transport for Wales fully recognises the impact these changes have on the communities we serve and we do not make such decisions lightly.
Ultimately we had to make the decision based on the significant number of people expected to travel by rail into Cardiff on Saturday to give us the greatest possible capacity to get those people home.
Moving forwards, new trains are coming onto our network over the coming months which should greatly alleviate the impact on our fleet.
The Conwy Valley and Borderlands lines will be among the first to receive these, with additional trains dedicated to these routes, meaning that barring any technical defects, they will be able to serve those communities with a far more reliable and consistent service.”