Concern Over Boat Race Day Train Cancellations

Team responsible for ensuring safety on the day not consulted by SW Trains

Concerns are being expressed about the impact of the lack of any train service over the Easter Holiday weekend when the University Boat Race is due to take place.

Over a quarter of a million people regularly attend the annual event but this year there will be no trains at stations serving the local areas along the route such as Wandsworth Town, Putney, Barnes, Barnes Bridge and Chiswick. The race is taking place on Sunday 27 March.

The Boat Race leads to the busiest day of the year for many high streets on the route but it appears that neither Network Rail or South West Trains have consulted with bodies organising activities in the area.

Nicola Grant the Town Centre Manager for Putney told this website, "I was not aware that the trains would not be running on race day. Neither were any of the boat race team as we had our final safety advisory meeting yesterday (Wednesday 2 March)."

Thamesfield councillor Mike Ryder said, "I do appreciate the train companies have to do engineering work at quieter periods, but Putney seems to have borne more than its share of problems when all the delays to completing the mainline station refurbishment are included. And South West Trains never seem to publicise these shutdowns in a big enough or early enough way."

SWT have advised travellers to avoid Clapham Junction over the Easter weekend as trains will not run between Clapham Junction and Barnes for all four days. This is due to the four day project to replace Fairfield Street Bridge near Wandsworth Town station.

Easter weekend is the Cancer Research Boat Race weekend (the university boat races between Cambridge and Oxford men's and women's crews). Thousands of spectators come to the river bank for the races and they will be affected by the rail service closure having to take buses or the tube in areas which are served by London Underground.

SWT website states, "Clapham Junction Station is expected to be busier than usual and you may wish to avoid the station – particularly on Sunday, the day of the boat race."

A spokesperson for Network Rail said, “We are improving the railway for passengers but to do that we have to make changes to train services over Easter. From new track to new signals, this work will play an important part in increasing the reliability of the railway. As part of this work, we are undertaking major bridge replacement work at Wandsworth Town Station, work which has been planned for over three years. We have been working closely with South West Trains to ensure spectators are aware of alternative travel arrangements so that they can continue to enjoy the boat race. We have been in contact with the organisers of the event to make them aware of alternative travel arrangements.”

We have emailed the organisers of the Boat Races and SW Trains for comment but have yet to receive a reply.

Rail replacement bus stops at Clapham Junction:

Clapham Junction- Grant Road Exit - For South West Trains Customers travelling to Barnes
Clapham Junction - St John's Road Exit - For Southern Customers travelling to London Victoria
Wandsworth Town- Swandon Way Stop B
Putney- Upper Richmond Road G
Barnes- Queens Road Ride Stand

March 6, 2016