The announcement of the new service took everyone by surprise, not least the planners in Pembrokeshire County Hall who have already earmarked Fishguard & Goodwick for reopening – once the trains are running.
Well, come September, they will be running, but non-stop through Fishguard & Goodwick, unless planners find the money and hire the JCBs. How much does this matter?
Fishguard Harbour station must be one of the easiest rail-sail interchanges in the UK. You could imagine almost touching Stena’s ship from Arriva’s train.
But that’s where the good news about Fishguard Harbour ends. Convenient for ferry travellers, and hopelessly inconvenient for local rail travellers.
Walking? Allow up to 20 minutes from Goodwick, at least half an hour from Fishguard.
Driving? Short stay parking will get you a fine or clamped before you return, and long stay parking is expensive.
Take the bus? The only one just meets the lunchtime ferry. Nothing else.
Got a lift? Watch out for artic trailers lurching around both sides of the roundabout – it’s heavy haulage heaven, less fun if you have children, luggage and distractions. Its dangerous, and Stena admits its congested. That’s why they permit smoking on the platform – so as not to force smokers to the roundabout end to join the lurching artics.
So if you’re a non-smoker, there’s yet another reason to avoid Fishguard Harbour, the only known station in the UK that permits smoking.
With such a list of negatives, does anyone seriously think Fishguard Harbour station is a proper terminus for a three year trial? Hopefully not.
There’s also a strong positive case for reopening Fishguard & Goodwick, which saw its last passengers in 1964:
It’s well-placed between Fishguard and Goodwick. On three bus routes and close to a fourth. Near shops, garage, pubs. It’s visible to local travellers (the harbour station is out of sight). When new trains run, we’ll all see the comings and goings.
The works to reopen Fishguard and Goodwick will attract attention, its reopening will signal something new in town.
Existing bus services properly timed to meet trains will raise the profile across a wider area.
Neighbouring retail business can promote the service and benefit from new trade.
Have I missed anything out?
The question is, what possible reason can prevent the reopening of F&G in time for September?