MP calls for rail chiefs to stop Challenge Cup final transport chaos

James Gordon

Judith Cummins, MP for Bradford South, has called on the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP, to intervene to stop the transport chaos affecting fans travelling to Wembley for the Challenge Cup Final.

The East Coast Mainline is being shut over the bank holiday weekend, and the chair of the Parliament’s rugby league group called the decision “as baffling as it is nonsensical”.

The Secretary of State for Transport responded that he understood her concerns, and that he had “asked the Rail Minister to look with Network Rail to see if any further amelioration that could be made that weekend to ease the pressure.”

Judith Cummins MP, said: “Many rugby league fans will now have to rearrange their travel plans for the Challenge Cup Final at short notice.

“It is promising that the Secretary of State recognises the problem, and that he will speak with Network Rail and the train companies to ensure this does not happen again. This may be too little, too late this year but I am hopeful that it will now not be repeated in future years.

“I will be taking this up directly with the Rail Minister to find out what is being done to help passengers across the weekend, and to discover why this baffling decision was taken in the first place.”

In a further significant development, the Transport Secretary has also committed to asking Network Rail and train franchises to “avoid some of the busiest peak weekends” for engineering works in future including the August Bank Holiday weekend.

This year will be the last year that the Challenge Cup final is held on August Bank Holiday weekend. It will move to July from 2020.