Thousands flock to Tour de France showpiece - but hundreds miss out due to full trains

Picture: Jeremy Knowles

Thousands flock to Tour de France showpiece - but hundreds miss out due to full trains

Thousands flock to Tour de France showpiece - but hundreds miss out due to full trains

Thousands flock to Tour de France showpiece - but hundreds miss out due to full trains

Thousands flock to Tour de France showpiece - but hundreds miss out due to full trains

Claire Brannon and her son Sam, two, off to see the Tour de France

First published in News
Last updated
Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

IF proof was needed that Tour de France fever really had gripped East Lancashire, the ‘Welcome to Skipton’ sign on Colne’s North Valley Road was a dead giveaway.

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But one misinformed transport official aside, the cycling fraternity and day-trippers alike certainly made the arrival of the world-famous road race into a memorable weekend for whole of the north country.

Even before a pedal had been pushed in earnest, there were queues at the bottom of the M65 as cycling enthusiasts from across the UK crossed the Lancashire-Yorkshire border.

And the hundreds who battled, some unsuccessfully, to catch a train to Hebden Bridge or beyond from Blackburn, Accrington or Burnley Manchester Road, will need no reminding of how popular the calvacade turned out to be.

Hours before the main event one Burnley rider had already weighed up the first two stages, from Leeds to Harrogate and then York to Sheffield.

Captain Ryan Perry, 27, a member of the Army Cycling Union, was one of a select band from the military who were asked to complete a test run of the track.

“I think it was really cool to have cycled the same route as the top continental cyclists and the countryside was absolutely beautiful round there as well,” he said. His dad Stephen, a member of Pendle Forest cycling club, from whom Ryan picked up his taste for two wheels, had already nipped around the same course previously though.

Steve Gee, 57, from Barrowford, of the Blazing Saddles mountain bike club, headed to Cray, near Buckden, in the Yorkshire Dales on Saturday and decided to visit Cragg Vale Road in Mytholmroyd, yesterday, with wife Gillian and children Andrea, 12 and nine-year-old Finlay.

“We wanted to be able to see the riders for a little bit longer and that’s where they begin their first climb of the stage — otherwise they just fly by,” said Steve.

Andrew Hays, from Nelson, who went to both days of the tour with partner Isla Mansell and their springer spaniel Monkey, said: “I’m a massive fan of the Tour de France and we were in Skipton on Saturday. It was just brilliant, really great, but very, very busy. We started off on the high street but then went to watch them coming out of town up the hill, so we could see the riders for about 90 yards,” he said.

Attendance at either one of the stages, or preferably both, was an article of faith for cycle nuts, with East Lancashire’s more dedicated riders choosing between Grassington, Haworth, the tortuous climb up Cragg Vale or the remote but picturesque Butter Tubs Pass, in Richmondshire, which attracted phenomenal crowds of around 10,000.

Leanne Postlethwaite, from Darwen, encountered the same early-morning transport difficulties as most East Lancashire travellers to West Yorkshire on Sunday but was glad she persevered.

She said: “I felt sorry for those who couldn’t get on the trains because they usually put six or seven carriages on that train but today there were only three.

Lancashire Telegraph:

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“But it’s been such a great event to watch and everyone has got together. I’ll be staying around for a bit because there’s still going to be a lot going on.”

The Lancashire Telegraph’s vantage point on Sunday came courtesy of Brenda Astin, chief light of the Friends of Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, which has already raised £18,800 for sick youngsters in Calderdale and Kirklees despite only being launched in May.

Her Birchcliffe Road home towered above the race route, affording an unique view of the giant Bic, Carrefour, Haribo and Vittel floats which made up the famed ‘caravan’, which winds its way through the course two hours before the riders.

This was Tyke country though so the McCains chips and Yorkshire Tea lorries which followed got louder cheers.

Saturday saw its fair share of drama and delight, from the Duchess of Cambridge cutting the opening tape at Leeds’ Roundhay Park to Mark Cavendish suffering a broken collarbone close to the Harrogate finish line. One hundred and ninety-eight riders from the 22 teams embarked on the initial outing, taking in the likes of Otley, Ikley, Addingham before thundering through Skipton just after 1.10pm.

Sean and Jayne Steele came from Preston with their four children, Grace, Frankie, Archie and Harvey, and the children's grandparents Margaret and Alan Steele to stay in a caravan at Paythorne, near Gisburn.

And after arriving at 6am to set up chairs on Skipton High Street, Alan said: “It's good for Yorkshire. Skipton has been terrific, and I can’t praise the people and the shops enough.”

 

Packed-out trains leave some fans in lurch

Lancashire Telegraph:

ANGRY cycling fans took to social networking site Twitter to vent their fury at Northern Rail as space ran out on trains heading to the Tour de France.

Thousands of people from East Lancashire are thought to have travelled to see the race, but witnesses described over-crowded trains pulling up to platforms, leaving frustrated passengers no room to board as stations in the area.

Sarah Hardman wrote in a message to Northern Rail: “Utter disgrace. No extra carriages. All trains full from Burnley for Tour de France.”

And Matty Harvey said: “Great organisation. Not. You’ve had four years to plan this; three carriages full at Preston. No chance for anyone in Burnley.”

Social media staff at Northern Rail were forced to put up with numerous tweets from disgruntled customers.

They replied on several occasions: “We have added as many services as we physically could. There is not an unlimited amount of trains unfortunately. Sorry.

“We have strengthened services and an enhanced timetable throughout the day focusing on what will be the busiest times.”

A spokeswoman for Northern Rail said passengers who were unable to travel will be offered a refund.

She said: “There was a phenomenal demand. We had almost double the capacity of our normal Sunday service, and we laid on special shuttles from Blackburn to Leeds.”

Comments (14)

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10:11am Mon 7 Jul 14

gazzandste says...

Northern rail needs to get their act right as regards their trains. They don`t have enough of them. Yesterday people was left stranded on the Blackburn Manchester route , because a train had been re-directed to cover for the tour de France. Some hopes of a train service to Manchester using the Todmorden curve, Same as their aging pacers, they will fall to bits before they are replaced.
Northern rail needs to get their act right as regards their trains. They don`t have enough of them. Yesterday people was left stranded on the Blackburn Manchester route , because a train had been re-directed to cover for the tour de France. Some hopes of a train service to Manchester using the Todmorden curve, Same as their aging pacers, they will fall to bits before they are replaced. gazzandste
  • Score: 14

10:20am Mon 7 Jul 14

Noiticer says...

The above story just illustrates how the railway, especially in the north, just isn't equipped to deal with large public events simply because the government via the Department of Transport has allocated barely enough rolling stock to cover the day to day services. Any complaints should be addressed squarely at the Government not Northern Trains which aren't allowed to have more trains. We need a northern transport executive with powers and cash to build sufficient trains and promote rail travel.
The above story just illustrates how the railway, especially in the north, just isn't equipped to deal with large public events simply because the government via the Department of Transport has allocated barely enough rolling stock to cover the day to day services. Any complaints should be addressed squarely at the Government not Northern Trains which aren't allowed to have more trains. We need a northern transport executive with powers and cash to build sufficient trains and promote rail travel. Noiticer
  • Score: 17

10:24am Mon 7 Jul 14

vicn1956 says...

a darener + anthonyuk-you commented on yesterdays story. You need to reply to thresholder who posted today.
a darener + anthonyuk-you commented on yesterdays story. You need to reply to thresholder who posted today. vicn1956
  • Score: 0

10:30am Mon 7 Jul 14

vicn1956 says...

sorry-threholdweller
sorry-threholdweller vicn1956
  • Score: 0

10:30am Mon 7 Jul 14

Izanears says...

This will probably get me lynched by the Lycra clad brigade but watching dozens of cyclists pedalling past is even less exciting than watching paint dry.
This will probably get me lynched by the Lycra clad brigade but watching dozens of cyclists pedalling past is even less exciting than watching paint dry. Izanears
  • Score: -1

10:47am Mon 7 Jul 14

rudis_dad says...

Izanears wrote:
This will probably get me lynched by the Lycra clad brigade but watching dozens of cyclists pedalling past is even less exciting than watching paint dry.
Each to their own. Nobody's forcing you.
[quote][p][bold]Izanears[/bold] wrote: This will probably get me lynched by the Lycra clad brigade but watching dozens of cyclists pedalling past is even less exciting than watching paint dry.[/p][/quote]Each to their own. Nobody's forcing you. rudis_dad
  • Score: 20

11:31am Mon 7 Jul 14

Jimbok says...

The people thinking they'd just hop on the train to H Bridge were naïve in the extreme. Rather than planning and anticipating, they just resort to whingeing.
There were plenty of Pendle folk watching it around us, along with people from all over the country / world - but they'd bothered to make a bit of an effort and got the reward.
The people thinking they'd just hop on the train to H Bridge were naïve in the extreme. Rather than planning and anticipating, they just resort to whingeing. There were plenty of Pendle folk watching it around us, along with people from all over the country / world - but they'd bothered to make a bit of an effort and got the reward. Jimbok
  • Score: 8

12:33pm Mon 7 Jul 14

rudis_dad says...

Jimbok wrote:
The people thinking they'd just hop on the train to H Bridge were naïve in the extreme. Rather than planning and anticipating, they just resort to whingeing.
There were plenty of Pendle folk watching it around us, along with people from all over the country / world - but they'd bothered to make a bit of an effort and got the reward.
What, planning and anticipating just like Northern Fail did?
[quote][p][bold]Jimbok[/bold] wrote: The people thinking they'd just hop on the train to H Bridge were naïve in the extreme. Rather than planning and anticipating, they just resort to whingeing. There were plenty of Pendle folk watching it around us, along with people from all over the country / world - but they'd bothered to make a bit of an effort and got the reward.[/p][/quote]What, planning and anticipating just like Northern Fail did? rudis_dad
  • Score: 7

2:50pm Mon 7 Jul 14

rudis_dad says...

Jimbok wrote:
The people thinking they'd just hop on the train to H Bridge were naïve in the extreme. Rather than planning and anticipating, they just resort to whingeing.
There were plenty of Pendle folk watching it around us, along with people from all over the country / world - but they'd bothered to make a bit of an effort and got the reward.
What, planning and anticipating just like Northern Fail did?
[quote][p][bold]Jimbok[/bold] wrote: The people thinking they'd just hop on the train to H Bridge were naïve in the extreme. Rather than planning and anticipating, they just resort to whingeing. There were plenty of Pendle folk watching it around us, along with people from all over the country / world - but they'd bothered to make a bit of an effort and got the reward.[/p][/quote]What, planning and anticipating just like Northern Fail did? rudis_dad
  • Score: 0

3:27pm Mon 7 Jul 14

sean_brfc says...

"We laid on special shuttles from Blackburn to Leeds.”

What, like the 16.08 Hebden Bridge to Blackburn Train that was cancelled without them admitting it?

And why were there no trains before 09.55? Shocking (lack of) service!

Still, a great day out, and although Izanears is right that the cycling itself was pretty boring, the atmosphere in Hebden Bridge was awesome.
"We laid on special shuttles from Blackburn to Leeds.” What, like the 16.08 Hebden Bridge to Blackburn Train that was cancelled without them admitting it? And why were there no trains before 09.55? Shocking (lack of) service! Still, a great day out, and although Izanears is right that the cycling itself was pretty boring, the atmosphere in Hebden Bridge was awesome. sean_brfc
  • Score: 1

6:23pm Mon 7 Jul 14

Owd Akela says...

I was a smart arse and went up Friday night to a little campsite just outside Hawes. Set off walking Saturday 9am to bag an uphill spot (didn't want to crick my neck watching them flying downhill). Was there for 10.30 and didn't budge till 3.30pm. What a great day - the carnival atmosphere was superb as there were hundreds of amateur cyclists including tots of 5/6 on their bikes who got the greatest cheers pedalling like fury uphill. Loads of pedestrians, cyclists and spectators from around the world and the police outriders and hundreds of other vehicles made for a great day.
I was a smart arse and went up Friday night to a little campsite just outside Hawes. Set off walking Saturday 9am to bag an uphill spot (didn't want to crick my neck watching them flying downhill). Was there for 10.30 and didn't budge till 3.30pm. What a great day - the carnival atmosphere was superb as there were hundreds of amateur cyclists including tots of 5/6 on their bikes who got the greatest cheers pedalling like fury uphill. Loads of pedestrians, cyclists and spectators from around the world and the police outriders and hundreds of other vehicles made for a great day. Owd Akela
  • Score: 6

6:58pm Mon 7 Jul 14

doggydog says...

they could have rode up on their bikes instead of the train with them? Lazy bikers!
they could have rode up on their bikes instead of the train with them? Lazy bikers! doggydog
  • Score: -2

11:46pm Mon 7 Jul 14

Reality50 says...

Had the Colne Skipton line been reopened instead of all thee false promises the past decade,then problems wouldn't have occured. Even so,there were the usual buses all weekend from Burnley bus station at regular intervals to Skipton,Keighley,Tod
morden and Halifax,so you could have used the buses.
Had the Colne Skipton line been reopened instead of all thee false promises the past decade,then problems wouldn't have occured. Even so,there were the usual buses all weekend from Burnley bus station at regular intervals to Skipton,Keighley,Tod morden and Halifax,so you could have used the buses. Reality50
  • Score: 0

10:22am Tue 8 Jul 14

vicn1956 says...

anthonyuk + adarener it's very quiet from you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
anthonyuk + adarener it's very quiet from you!!!!!!!!!!!!!! vicn1956
  • Score: 0

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