RUGBY FANS and music lovers will be unable to use the Coventry Arena train station as a way of reaching the Ricoh Arena from now after extra match day services were officially dropped last week.
Approximately £40,000 was spent by rugby club and London Midland to provide fans with an event day train service containing six carriages to Wasps games against the Leicester Tigers and Harlequins.
A statement from London Midland confirmed that without any additional third party funding, it would not be possible for them to run extra services on match days.
Although the trains proved popular with Wasps supporters – after it was announced that more than ten per cent of fans chose to travel to the games by train – service provider London Midland has refused to continue the service.
Trains will continue to run on the hour from Coventry station to Coventry Arena.
David Armstrong, Group CEO Wasps, delivered the following statement on behalf of Wasps: “The recent trial of rugby special trains at the Wasps v Harlequins and Wasps v Leicester Tigers matches at the Ricoh Arena proved immensely popular.
“Operationally, the service ran extremely well with many fans commenting on how convenient it was – allowing them to directly access the Arena from both Coventry and Nuneaton stations.
“Unfortunately, despite our considerable efforts and our own financial contribution to the trial, London Midland have refused to continue with the rugby special service, although the basic scheduled service will remain in place.
“This is incredibly disappointing for our supporters and the people of Coventry.
“It means we will revert to providing shuttle buses from Coventry Station to the Arena on Wasps match days and for the upcoming summer concerts.
“Discussions continue with London Midland to try and persuade them to re-launch the service for the start of next season in September.
“The Arena Coventry station is an important asset for the City, the Ricoh Arena and the Arena Park shopping centre and we will continue to lobby all relevant parties to enable its proper utilisation as soon as possible.”
Francis Thomas, head of corporate affairs at London Midland, said: “Working with Wasps we learned a great deal from the two trials involving the Harlequins and Tigers games.
“We proved that it is possible to run additional services for events at the Ricoh Arena.
“However the extra cost far out-stripped the additional revenue.
“We remain in talks with Wasps and will continue to look at opportunities for next season.”