Fresh rail blow for England fans

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The Independent Online

Soccer fans heading to Wembley for tonight's World Cup game between England and Andorra were dealt a fresh blow today when it was announced that overground rail services would not be stopping close to the stadium because of the strike by Tube workers.

London Midland said it feared overcrowding as fans sought alternative ways of getting to NW London for the World Cup qualifier.

Chiltern Railways also announced it was withdrawing services to Wembley because of safety concerns, leaving fans having to drive, cycle or walk to the stadium.

The strike by the Rail Maritime and Transport union has led to the widespread closure of Tube stations, causing travel chaos in the capital.

Tens of thousands of fans were due to attend the game, but many are now likely to miss out because of the travel mayhem.

London Midland said: "Industrial action by the RMT Union affecting London Underground means that the level of services to and from Wembley has been significantly decreased presenting the risk of overcrowding on rail services.

"For this reason London Midland and other rail operators have taken the decision to withdraw services and advise those supporters attending the game to seek alternative methods of transport.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this decision, but we must ensure the safety and comfort of our passengers at all times.

Chiltern said: "We will not be stopping any services at Wembley Stadium station on 10 June, from 1200 until the end of service. We will unfortunately not be providing a service for those going to see the England game at Wembley Stadium.

"The increased volumes of traffic using London Marylebone to get to and from work in lieu of the London Underground will mean that our services will be substantially busier. The large volumes of anticipated Wembley traffic in addition to this would be unsustainable from a safety perspective. We have also been advised by the British Transport Police that the crowd volumes at Wembley Stadium station could potentially be unsafe.

"The safety of both our regular passengers, and the additional travellers using our services because of the strike, is paramount, and we therefore have taken the difficult decision to withdraw services to Wembley on 10 June. Unfortunately this will also affect the evening journey of those who commute to/from Wembley Stadium station.

"The Football Association has advised that refunds will be made available to ticketholders who decide not to attend this game because of the tube strike."