by Phil Marsh

Presidents and Prime Ministers visit to affect rail passengers in South Wales on September 4 & 5

Published: 30th August 2014

2014 NATO Summit brings UK’s biggest congregation of world leaders to Newport and Cardiff

The recent stepping up of security measures will affect all UK rail passengers for obvious reasons for the medium future as a minimum. More immediately on September 4 and 5, all passengers using trains calling at Cardiff and Newport in south Wales have been urged to allow more time to get to their trains at these two stations.

These two days are when Wales will host the largest gathering of international leaders ever to take place in Britain as the UK hosts the 2014 NATO summit. Security measures have been put in place on routes around Newport and Cardiff to enable the likes of President Obama, Chancellor Merkel, President Hollande, our Prime Minister and other leaders and senior ministers from around 60 other countries to get to meeting venues.

Two days of extra time

Passengers are being asked to allow extra time to get to the two stations as road traffic will be disrupted and station security and passenger flows are likely to be altered.

The background to the NATO summit is the ending of its longest ever mission in Afghanistan and against a backdrop of instability in Ukraine. The 28 NATO members have been invited along with delegates from 53 other countries and this may see up to 10,000 international visitors attending.

Because of the disruption to road traffic in Newport and Cardiff during the summit, passengers joining or leaving all trains at Newport and Cardiff are being reminded that trains are expected to be busier than normal as road users switch to rail for the two days. This is because of road closures and other security measures. Bristol Temple Meads and Parkway stations are also expected to be busier than normal as it is the nearest city with accommodation reserved for the summit.

Whose trains are affected?

Train companies affected are Arriva Trains Wales (ATW), First Great Western and Arriva Cross Country and with just a few days to go before the event, only ATW has announced that they have planned additional capacity on key routes in order to enable extra passengers to be carried.

They will also be strengthening station staff at Newport and Cardiff stations on the key days of the summit to keep disruption to a minimum while being able to give extra information to anyone who may need it.

ATW has said that as station access and train services may be a little different from usual, customers should plan ahead and buy your ticket as far in advance as possible before the day you intend to travel and check whether your usual access route to the stations may have been altered.

What else is going on?

In addition to the 60 world leaders, 70 foreign ministers, 70 defence ministers and 28 NATO member countries invited to the summit, there will be:

  • 3 military bands involved over the 2 days
  • around 5 kilometres of power cables laid by Port Talbot-based Aggreko to support the summit
  • 800 staff from Celtic Manor
  • 6 warships from 6 NATO nations’ navies in Cardiff Bay
  • over 7,000 square metres of flooring at summit venues provided and fitted by Cwmbran-based Floorex
  • an estimated 15,000 meals served to delegates, media and production crew over the 2 days
  • 24,000 room nights in 80 hotels reserved in Newport, Cardiff and Bristol
  • an estimated 12,500 litres of water drunk
  • over 1,000 school children in Wales taught from the NATO lesson plan
  • 157 Royal Mint commemorative pieces struck and given to world leaders and Newport schools
  • 12 students from Cardiff Met University cooking with Chef Stephen Terry

And don’t forget there will be demonstrations in Newport and Cardiff which will add to the travel confusion. It may be best to avoid these stations if you can!

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