Paddington Station London
Paddington Station London: severe overcrowding due to Rugby World Cup Reuters

First Great Western has apologised to its customers for underestimating the numbers of passengers travelling to Cardiff for the Rugby World Cup match. In a tweet, the train company acknowledged that there was "severe overcrowding" at London's Paddington Station.

First Great Western said it had laid an 8,000 seats in preparation for the Ireland-Canada game at the city's Millennium Stadium, but that it then had to add 1,500 extra seats. Passengers have responded angrily.

Clive Sedgebeer ‏tweeted: "Everyone in Wales has worked hard to give a great visitor experience to rugby fans and then along come @FGW to totally ruin it." Meanwhile, Cycleoptic responded: "Only 4 years notice!" And Sue Moran tweeted: "Stop selling the anytime tickets on match days – it's the same during Six Nations."

Passengers have also been tweeting pictures of overcrowding from Bristol Parkway station. First Great Western said in a statement: "We're sorry for anyone caught up on busy services ahead of today's match at the Millennium Stadium.

"Although we warned customers services were likely to be very busy and to travel early, the number of people wishing to travel is slightly higher than predicted, and passenger numbers have been less evenly spread throughout the day than we would normally expect."

The company added that it would be reviewing arrangements for future rugby events during the World Cup but said there was a "limit to what we can provide without impacting other customers". Meanwhile, National Rail has asked rail users to allow extra time to travel and stated that Paddington, Reading, Swindon and Bristol Parkway stations were all busier than normal.

The city's official Rugby World Cup fan zone is at Cardiff Arms Park stadium, where up to 8,000 fans are expected. Denise Toolan from County Wicklow, Ireland, told the BBC: "It's fabulous. The people are so friendly. It's a really good experience and the Welsh are like the Irish – very welcoming."

Following the Ireland-Canada game on 19 September, Wales will meet Uruguay on 20 September. Cardiff is to host eight fixtures in total at the Millennium Stadium.