Another day, another bus


The latest tarmac saga starts as the final connecting train of the evening leaves Carmarthen with a Fishguard Trains team member on board.

Here’s his report:

The Conductor comes through the train inspecting tickets: Seeing mine, she says I’ll have to speak to you later.

That’s exciting I say.

Nothing bad, she says cheerfully, as she continues down the carriage.

bus replaces final train to Fishguard

mystery tour

After Whitland she returns: When you get to Clarbeston Road you have to go off the platform up to the road. There’s no train. It’s a bus.

I ask why?

There’s no staff. They booked someone in who’s on the sick.

She does not look impressed.

How many are on for Fishguard?

About 5 or 6 – in fact there were four for Fishguard.

At Clarbeston Road, dramatically dark and threatening rain, the conductor leaves the train, even leaves the station. She’s probably breaking every rule in the ATW Rule Book, but she comes up to the road with the Fishguard passengers. She knows that one of us is on crutches, and this may not be easy.

No bus to be seen. Four of us plus the conductor are just starting to wonder, when a minibus comes into view. Relief.

If you’re on crutches, it’s a struggle to mount the steep steps up into the bus. What would they have done with someone in a wheelchair? We’re all safely on board, the Conductor bids us a cheery farewell and returns to the station, and our driver sets off – towards Carmarthen.

After a mile or two, I can’t stay silent any longer.

Driver, where are you going?


But this is the road to Carmarthen.

It’s the only road I know. I’m doing the bus company a favour. They didn’t have a driver. Phoned me up and said take this bus to Clarbeston Road. I was lucky to see the turning on the A40.

And so back to the A40 is where we are all heading – not far from Canaston Bridge on the way to Carmarthen.

When you turned the bus at Clarbeston Road, that was the road to Fishguard. You could have asked us.

I didn’t think. This isn’t my job.

Fishguard Trains‘ verdict

GOOD THAT the train conductor accompanied passengers up to the road to see them safely on board.

GOOD THAT the volunteer bus driver did the bus company a favour by turning out when they were just as short staffed as ATW.

BAD THAT they didn’t bother to brief the driver on his route, in a place he didn’t know.

BAD THAT despite being funded by Welsh taxpayers up to £1.4m a year, this is how Arriva delivers the Fishguard service.


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4 Responses to Another day, another bus

  1. Mistar Crac

    I`ve finally cracked! I live nowhere near Fishguard, but have been followng this site for months. Having got our trains back not so long ago after 40 plus years I know what freedom and opportunities a good rail service can give you. The drawback is when it`s run by Arriva. They are at their very worst when things go wrong (not to mention severely allergic at all times to passing out information to their poor customers) and I dread to think what they would be getting way with if it weren`t for your efforts to keep them on their toes. The new service has got to be a success. The WAG will use any excuse to take away the extra trains (maybe even all the trains), which we know full well was an election ploy in the first place and now IWJ has gone Carwyn will be wanting his money back. And don`t let that ratbag bus company off the hook either. This is a fantastic opportunity to give a forgotten part of the country a proper transport system. Keep up the good work.

    Thanks for listening. I feel calmer now.

    • Spad

      Annwyl Mistar Crac
      Rydych chi’n rhy garedig!
      [you are too kind]
      But seriously, we couldn’t wish for a better explanation of the purpose of this web site. Thanks.
      If we ever relax and take Fishguard’s new rail service for granted, we’ll wake up one morning and it’ll be gone.
      Oh, and why not visit Fishguard soon – tell us when you’re arriving and Fishguard Trains will treat you to tea and scones in town.

    • Rhydgaled

      Arriva really are awful when it comes to information. The service updates page on their buses website shows no information for any timetable changes since May, despite them just implementing some fairly major changes to the X40 timetable (they changed this week). In that case, they didn’t inform Richards Bros either, with the result that there is now a half hour ‘connection’ wait in Aberaeron on a number of Cardigan – Aberystwyth journeys and the connections for passengers going from Lampeter to Cardigan have been broken completely, since Richards had no opertunity to update their timetables.

      Is there a group/site similar to Fishguard Trains that deals with Ceredigion transport because I’d like to discuss the above issue.

      Returning to Fishguard, before the extra trains I think there was talk of closing the line so you’re not far of the mark with your suggestion that they might get rid of the boat trains too. Unless quite a lot of modal shift from air to ferry is achived, I’d be supprise if a failed trial didn’t mean all services to Fishguard would cease, the boat trains included.

  2. Anthony

    Hopefully someone will sort things out. I do admith that ATW are very bad at times especially with my local swanline service.

    I dont get why they stop a lot of the West wales – Cardiff – Manchester services at Pyle on a saturday heading towards Cardiff in adition to the swanline ( not that i am cmplaining) but how ocome they dont do it heading westbound towards swansea.

    Anyway i hope we get somone else running the franchise from 2018 or the wg take it in house. The class 150/153’s will need work done to them in the next 3-6 years to get them ready to meet the 2020 dda compliance rules.

    I do hope the service to fishguard is a sucess, it does seem to be carrying a fair number of passengers however problems such as what has been mentioned will not help to get people using the service.

    Something else I want to mention which may interest you last saturday (29/10/2011) I saw the 07:10 departure from Pyle towards Swansea which goes to Pembroke dock & Fishguard Hbr , however only a single class 153 was being used so not sure if that unit was working to Pembroke or to Fishguard , perhaps another unit was at Swansea or Carmarthen or a bus was booked.

    I do like how the information screens at Port Talbot Parkway showed that the train was going to Pembroke Dock & Fishguard Hbr

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