We’ll know we’ve secured the future of our rail service when taking the train is just a normal everyday matter in Fishguard.
This week we made a return trip to Cardiff. Here’s our photo report. Was it normal, or exceptional? Let’s see.
9:31 A rainy day in Fishguard. Parked the car facing the sea at Goodwick Parrog car park. The nearest public parking to the Harbour station. But not for long – we see that Pembrokeshire CC is bringing in charges for parking at Parrog, and no doubt banning overnight parking. They’d better get on with reopening Goodwick station.
9:41 Brisk walk along the harbour road to reach the station in ten minutes. That would be 20 minutes lugging a suitcase and into the teeth of a westerly gale.
9:46 The incoming train from Hereford and Cardiff is dead on time. One passenger gets off.
9:48 The only station in Britain where you can legally smoke.
9:53 The temporary shuttle bus from Fishguard Square was due in at 9:50. It arrives late, with just three minutes to spare. Two passengers join the train from the bus.
From September 30th this shuttle bus will be replaced with a re-timed and re-routed 410 Town Bus, due two minutes earlier at 9:48. An important bus, because it picks up across Fishguard, Goodwick, Stop & Call and all points in between before reaching the harbour.
9:56 Train leaves on time, with ten passengers. We’re encouraged – that’s a respectable number for this new service on a wet Tuesday.
The sights and sounds of our town are changing – it’s many years since you could wave goodbye to Goodwick on a morning train. And all along the line, the sound of passing trains is becoming part of the daily pattern.
The conductor sells tickets. We hand out Fishguard & Six Nations timetables.
10:49 Arrives on time at a busy Carmarthen station. As far as we can see, all ten passengers cross to the far platform for the connecting train east to Swansea and Cardiff.
12:47 On time into Cardiff. A successful trip. Is this really how normal travel from Fishguard has become? Carry on from here and we could be in London by 3pm and Paris before 8pm.Today it’s just Penarth by 13:17.
Just one fly in the ointment: The timetables on the platforms still show the wrong times for Fishguard – Fishguard Trains reported their errors on September 14th. We find an Arriva manager on the platform and take him over to the display – he notes the mistakes, takes a photo of the timetable as a reminder.
Our conclusions –
GOOD THAT – everything is just as it should be. Trains on time, efficient interchange at Carmarthen (with enough time for a tea from the station buffet). The train out of Fishguard has attracted ten passengers, who were travelling well east of Carmarthen. On a wet Tuesday, there’s really no better way of getting to Swansea by noon and Cardiff by 1. Even the brisk walk from the Parrog to the train had its health benefits.
SHAME THAT – they still can’t get the timetables right.
Will the return journey be just as successful? Read the next post.