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Football Train Station Opens But Fans Are Banned From Using It. Obviously.

ricoharena1.jpg

Coventry City fans have been through a lot in the last few years.

Having to get used to life in the third tier of English football after 34 consecutive years in the top flight and then leaving their famous Highfield Road stadium in 2005 for a shiny new one - which they were then unable to play at for an entire season after a rent dispute with the owners.

They're thankfully back in Coventry after their one year hiatus in Northampton for the 2013/14 season, but now a new development has been added to the club's list of woes.

The Ricoh Arena, shared with rugby union Premiership club Wasps, is five miles away from the city centre and a station, situated on the Coventry-Nuneaton line and named Coventry Arena, which serves the stadium has finally opened. However, it is going to be closed for an hour after the final whistle of each game as it can't cope with transporting more than a handful of fans.

Despite a £13.6m upgrade to the line, only one single-carriage diesel train with a capacity of 75 people will run every hour.

Coventry Station

The line links the Ricoh Arena to Coventry Station



Francis Thomas, a spokesman for train operator London Midland, said: “We only have the one diesel train. It only has 75 seats. Until further infrastructure changes are made, we are limited. There just aren’t the trains available. We’re working with the arena owners to see if there are other solutions.”

London Midland have said that the construction of the station is "part of a phased approach" which began in 2011 and originally envisaged trains running every 15 minutes. In a glorious piece of buck-passing, Coventry council merely said, “The council, with partners, has successfully provided the infrastructure which allows trains to stop at the Ricoh as well as providing a vital link throughout the day between Nuneaton and Bedworth and Coventry. The council is not responsible for providing or managing train services.”

Which roughly translates as: "Well, we did our bit. It's your problem now."

It is hoped that the line will be electrified soon, and extra capacity added to the line, but no one is quite sure when. In the meantime, access will be stopped after matches due to safety fears from overcrowding.

London Midland's Thomas added: “It’s unfortunate that fans will naturally see a station being built next to the stadium and think that’s the way to go. It will be - but not just yet.”

(Images: Getty/WikiCommons)

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