“Rugby World Cup fans’ first day spoiled by Auckland train problems”

International media has picked up on last night’s shambles at the rugby world cup opening night in Auckland.

This from Metro.co.uk

Hundreds of fans travelling to the opening match of the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand were left stranded by severe delays on Auckland’s train system.

Frustrated passengers who had paid hundreds of dollars to watch New Zealand take on Tonga at the Eden Park stadium were reported to be pushing the emergency stop buttons on trains between Britomart and Kingsland before jumping out of carriages and climbing up banks in a desperate attempt to make it to the stadium.

Many were forced to walk along the tracks to get to Friday’s festivities at Eden Park, located 3km south-west of Auckland’s CBD.

Harbour ferries and buses also suffered severe delays after being swamped by fans rushing towards the waterfront to witness the opening ceremony to mark the start of the biggest sporting event ever staged in the country.

Ferry services into the Auckland CBD were temporarily halted after terminals became too crowded for passengers to get on or off.

An estimated 50,000 descended on Queens Wharf – which was designed to hold no more than 12,000 people – to join in an opening party for the six-week tournament and witness a fireworks display which was set off just before kick-off.

Waiting times of over two hours were reported for buses going from the North Shore to the city… more here

The Australian newspaper covered Auckland city’s overcrowding problems, saying

Fans fall into Auckland Harbour
POLICE boats were required to pluck fans out of the Auckland Harbour after overcrowding problems in the city marred the opening night of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

“The tournament kicked off with an opening ceremony at Eden Park but a mass of fans who descended on a ‘Party Central’ zone on the Auckland waterfront to watch created chaos.

An estimated 100,000 people crammed into the Queens Wharf area and such was the crush, local television stations reported people needed to be fished out of the water after being either pushed or jumping in.

Police and ambulance crews were run off their feet dealing with injured and hyperventilating people, according to reports.

Earlier police had closed down the waterfront, denying entry for any more fans and advised others to stay away the city.

Transport was also thrown in chaos, with ferries from Auckland’s north shore cancelled due to the overcrowding.

Trains out to Eden Park were also severly delayed, with many people missing the game due to trains being stopped on the line. Out at the ground, even IRB chief executive Mike Miller even ran into trouble getting into the ground when a security guard denied him entry for not having accreditation…” more here

2 thoughts on ““Rugby World Cup fans’ first day spoiled by Auckland train problems”

  1. Yes, NZ didn’t “disappoint”, and things went as expected, as many (including myself in my rugby bans comment) had predicted. It has been demonstrated that the place is indeed a small town, and doesn’t have the infrastructure to cope with decent numbers of people (what do organisers say after they took the RWC off the hands of Japan and South Africa? their silence is deafening). Not only that, apart from the infrastructure short of collapsing, not all the screens were working (for the revellers frustration), and others were only “half working” with the haka in “silent” mode. Of course, as expected, the worst happened with public transport, in fact just a day before opening they had serious delays on the western line, and the old, diesel, small and slow trains in a single rail line were completely inadequate to transport the fans.

    There is a silver lining though, this time it is lots of foreigners who have seen first hand how the real NZ works, and hearing comments about “that is NZ…” was slightly satisfying, hopefully many prospective migrants will now change their minds and spread the word.

    I predict NZ will never again organise anything of importance.

    • Auckland seemed to be unable to cope with the sheer numbers of people, it failed miserably and it’s not as if all this was unexpected. It was only 200,000 people, a figure which other countries seem able to cope with without the dramas that occurred last night.

      Something needs to be done urgently, another monumental stuff up this Sunday will be unforgivable.

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