Nine minutes later

vast crowd at station

all aboard

Q: When does nine minutes mean the difference between a comfortable journey and mayhem?

A: When it’s at 17:39

The 17:39 from Cardiff is a vital part of Fishguard’s new rail service. With a five-minute change at Clarbeston Road, we can reach Fishguard by 20:30. The problem is, the 17:39 from Cardiff is also the first train after five thirty from the capital to Port Talbot, Neath and Swansea. Not surprising that it’s a popular train – all two coaches of it.

So popular indeed that Fishguard Trains commenter John Hughes writes: “The final train of the day from Cardiff to Fishguard, ex Cardiff 17.40, is known as the “Sardine Express” because it is swamped with commuters travelling from Cardiff to Swansea. Last Monday returning to Fishguard (14/11/2011) I stood from Cardiff to Swansea standing on a suitcase because there was no floor space left on which to stand; a two-coach 175 unit was hopelessly inadequate to deal with the crush of passengers. This is effectively going to kill off the Fishguard service if passengers are physically unable to get on the train. (The service from Swansea was fine).”

Fishguard Trains staffers have been in that crush many times. It’s no fun.

There’s nothing strange about crowded trains these days, but there are two very strange things about this one. Nine minutes after the Pembrokeshire train leaves Cardiff, First Great Western’s 125 from London to Swansea also leaves. It reaches Port Talbot and Neath five minutes after Arriva’s train, and Swansea eleven minutes behind Arriva. Why wouldn’t some commuters from Cardiff choose to take a seat on the full-length 125 rather than play sardines on Arriva’s train?  Is 5-11 minutes really that important?

So could Fishguard travellers take the 125 as far as Swansea and make life easier? This reveals the second strange thing: Across the day and the timetable, long distance Arriva trains are timetabled to wait at Swansea for the incoming FGW 125 from London – that way an integrated rail service covers the entire route from London to Pembrokeshire. Except not the 17:39. It leaves Swansea seven minutes before the incoming FGW from Paddington. Not clever.

So here are Fishguard Trains’ three suggestions for making life easier for all hard-pressed evening travellers from Cardiff:

BEST: Arriva delays the 18:41 departure from Swansea to await the incoming FGW at Swansea – due at 18:48; OR …

OK: Arriva retimes the 17:39 to await the incoming FGW at Cardiff – due at 17:46; OR …

FAILING THAT: Cardiff Central station announcers encourage passengers joining the 17:39 to await the 17:48 if they are travelling no further than Swansea.

Now let’s see all the reasons why none of that can possibly happen.

 

25 Comments

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25 Responses to Nine minutes later

  1. DBJ

    Are they putting 175 units on the Fishguard service then? That’s an improvement!

    • Rhydgaled

      They are indeed putting class 175s on Fishguard services. Only the first two morning trips though as far as I know (and that would be because the 08:04 from Fishguard goes to Manchester). The overcrowed 17:39 westbound out of Cardiff, which probablly comes from Manchester, is also a 175 but does not go to Fishguard, change at Clarbeston Road for Fishguard (as far as I know, that working is a class 150).

      As far as I know, the daytime boat train sadly is still a woefully inappropriate class 150 unit (an inner-suburban commuter unit for west Wales’ only express service to/from Cardiff). If all the 158s were tied up on Manchester trains and the Cambrian line I might understand, but they are using 158s on Maesteg services! (they were still working that line this summer anyway, and I haven’t heard any reports that it is no longer the case).

  2. Anthony

    I have just realised this the 08:04 service from Fishguard Harbour to Manchester arrives into Manchester at 14:15.

    I know there is a departure from Manchester to Milford Haven at 14:30 which arrives into Cardiff at 17:39 which is of course thee overcrowded departure to west wales with the connection to Fishguard.

    I do hope that ATW can get further dnu’s to provide an increase in capacity and perhaps new additional services including some as suggested via the Swansea district line with station’s at Morriston & Llandarcy which should help reduce overcrowding on services to Swansea.

    • Rhydgaled

      Anthony, does your comment mean the unit that works the crowded 17:39 from Cardiff to Milford Haven is the same one that starts it’s day working to and from Fishguard?

      As for the Morriston parkway (and other proposed stations on the Swansea District Line), while I think they are a good idea they should not be served by trains to Carmarthen or points west. Using the district line would get Cardiff – Carmarthen (calling at Bridgend, Port Talbot Parkway and Llanelli only) down to about 1 hour 25 minutes (the quickest possible would I think be 1hr 22mins). I think the proposed Swansea District Line stations should only be served by seperate services (from Llanelli and/or Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen to Swansea Docks, Britton Ferry, Port Talbot, Bridgend and/or Cardiff) unless a bunch of linespeed improvments are put in place to allow the additional stops while still reducing the Cardiff – Carmarthen journey time to no more than 1hr 17mins (the car journey time given by AA journey planner).

      Stopping at the parkway stations on the district line would also bring back the issue of Swansea passengers crowding the west Wales trains, which are unlikely to justify more than 2 coaches after Llanelli/Carmarthen. As I suggested earlier, perhaps a district line express from Cardiff to west Wales would allow loco-hauled trains to take over Manchester – Swansea with a DMU connection from Swansea to west Wales, allowing longer trains on the sections that need them most.

  3. Anthony

    Yes:

    08:04 Fishguard Harbour – Manchester Piccadilly (Arr 14:15)
    14:30 Manchester Picccadilly – Milford Haven (Arrives into Cardiff at 17:38)

    So yes It does look to be the same unit. I wish ATW had more 175’s taht means you could have a 08:00 Milford Haven – Manchester service which attaches to teh Fishguard portion at Claberston road offering both places a direct service to Swansea, Cardiff etc.

    As for it taking 1 hour 17 minutes to drive Carmarthen – Cardiff, That would be a push quickest I have done it is 1 hour 35 minutes. I think even f trains called at a station at Morriston or Llandarcy, Cardiff – Carmarthen would still be do-able in 1 hours 27 minutes although it depends if the train is held ourtside Camrathen station to allow a train to come up the single line from Carmarthen station to join the line at Carmarthen Jct

    • Rhydgaled

      I was asking about the Manchester because I don’t know if they interwork south-west Wales – Manchester services with Manchester – Llandudno services, because then it would be a different unit that departs from Manchester at 14:30.

      Well, 1hr 17mins is the time the AA journey planner claims from Carmarthen to somewhere in central Cardiff. I appreciate that the actual road journey time into central Cardiff is likely to be longer due to congestion, and that a 1hr 25min rail journey time from Carmarthen to CDF would probablly be approaching the actual road journey time. However, I still think the train needs to be even faster. My concern is journeys beyond Cardiff, where the car can stay on the M4 to bypass Cardiff and avoid the city streets while the rail passenger will likely have to wait at least 10mins for a connecting train.

  4. DBJ

    The 150 and Pacer units which I have seen on the Fishguard route are not far off 30 years old now, does Arriva have any plans to replace them? I heard a rumour once that they were planning to sell the Pacers to Iran, but changed their minds! There are also stories of 158 units being put into dry storage to save money. It’s a scandal how crappy some of the trains are in Wales!

  5. Swansea Jack

    DBJ – I would expect the existing trains to soldier on for a while longer yet. DafT in their wisdom cancelled their mythical 200 plus order for new DMUs saying industry wouldn’t finance the things because of rising fuel prices over the medium / long term. I’d expect the 142/3 pacers vehicles to last until 2020 when the new disability requirements will effectively force their withdrawal. Planned electrification schemes would allow a cascade of class 150 type vehicles onto old pacer diagrams (via the use for example of Thames valley class 16x vehicles onto 150 /158 diagrams when Thames Valley services become EMUs) or by things like electrification of the Cardiff Valley lines which is being considered at present.

    Rhydgaled – as someone who regularly travels up to Cardiff you might take around an hour from Carmarthen to Jcn 32 of the M4 outside of the peaks if you’re lucky, but getting into Central Cardiff and parking there is likely to take a little longer than 17 minutes unless your talking about very quiet periods. Carmarthen to Cardiff becomes competitive especially when you consider the costs of train travel against fuel and parking costs – even though you’d probably pay less to park in Cardiff than certain Harbours we could mention.

    I think we are some way from being able to justify a regular Swansea District line service, as Swansea would then have to be served by other trains to West Wales.

    I do however think that the rail industry needs to focus on the attractiveness of Swansea versus that of Cardiff for shoppers from west Wales – I note that the days of Richards Bros running a regular Wednesday and Saturday day trip bus excursion each week to Swansea is long gone – they tend to head to Cardiff instead these days.

    Anthony – unfortunately there are no more class 175s, and some of them being only 2 car is a big issue too – especially as the 08:04 Fishguard to Manchester tends to be one – meaning the return will be too. Forget Loco-hauled trains – look at how much Y Gerallt Cymro is costing per annum as that will give you a clue.

    I have had the benefit of using the 08:04 Fishguard, and the 15:14 from Cardiff for business meetings in Cardiff and find that they certainly provide a far more relaxing journey than the road option, and at a competitive price too – I believe this site should focus on the positives and try to encourage further use of our trains rather than focus on overcrowding issues on one service. Yes it is of concern, but there are better ways to sort out problems than to discourage first timers from trying what to me is a great improvement in travel options to / from North Pembrokeshire.

    • Spad

      Swansea Jack –
      Fishguard Trains never criticises without also suggesting positive alternatives and improvements. So what is your opinion of our three alternative suggestions (see above) for improving the 17:39 service from Cardiff – for ALL passengers?

  6. Swansea Jack

    I’d agree with your ‘best’ option. Passengers would at least have the chance of a through journey, but if they were unable to get on the train then they would have a fall-back option by catching the London service to Swansea and changing there. Arriva wouldn’t miss out on their ORCATs revenue, or on the pathing between Cardiff and Swansea. The only issue could be around pathing the train through the single track section at Gowerton.

    The second option seems unlikely to me as it would delay homebound commuters to the likes of Pyle which is an important market for the evening run out of Cardiff, while the final option just wouldn’t end up working, as passengers on their daily commute just wouldn’t want to simply hang around for another 10 minutes each day.

    I do think that consideration of the effect of some posts on the encouragement (or otherwise) of potential passengers needs to be considered. We are looking at encouraging a market that hasn’t really had a usable train service for 47 years, or even a semi-usable service since May 1982 when we lost the morning service to Clarbeston Road.

    My experiences of using the new trains have, without exception been positive, and I have nothing but praise for all those at ATW, WG, NR, PCC, SWWITCH, NPTF, Carmarthen Traincrew etc who have succeeded in these difficult times in getting this service up and running, and where our local station at Goodwick seems to be on course for an early Spring re-opening. Many are working together behind the scenes to iron out the teething issues, and this site also has provided useful advertising which will help to poularise our new trains.

  7. Anthony

    Glad to see passengers are using the new services.

    I think 1 problem with the 17:39 being so overcrowded is that there used to be a FGW service to Swansea at 17:25 which used to mop up a lot of the passengers however FGW withdrew that service between Cardiff & Swansea in favour of running a 17:55 service from Cardiff to London Paddington.

    I suppose with the Gowerton re-doubling looking like it is going ahead the 17:39 service to Milford Haven could be re-timed to depart Swansea at 18:47 after the HST arrives at 18:43.

    As for improvements, hopefully at teh end of this trial there will be more dmu’s available, so perhaps additional througgh services could run between Fishguard & Swansea/Cardiff rather than having some short workings to Claberston road.

    This could be done by splitting/attaching to/from Milford Haven/Pembroke dock services either at Claberston Road or Whitland.

    This could have an additional benefit of allowing for some 4 carriage trains between Swansea & Manchester, however the main problems is that there are other routes in wales crying out for additional rolling stock or services such as the Heart of wales line.

    Anyway I am glad to hear about all of the hard work being put into getting fishgaurd & Goodwick station re-opened for spring 2012, in fact if any new leaflets are issued showing the new station I will happily put some down at my local library which is well used by OAP’s and at Porthcawl information centre.

  8. DBJ

    So how are passenger numbers currently? I asked the guy at Hwest ticket office recently and he had heard things were pretty quiet. Are things slowly improving, or is the opening of Goodwick station the big catalyst everyone is waiting for? I’m also curious as to how the Clabeston Road shuttle works, are Arriva genuinely sending a empty train past lots of statioms down to do it?

    • Blocking Back

      From our very unscientific polling method of looking at the trains as they pass the window, passenger numbers seem to be creeping up – presumably as word gets round.

      It’s very rare that anyone is on the first and second downward services in the morning, but there are always at least half a dozen people on the first up service in the morning and numbers increase to 10-20 for the 2nd and 3rd up services.

      The boat trains are still very busy, as is the first downward evening service, which usually has around 20-30 people on it. The second downward service (the Sardine Express from Cardiff) usually has around 5-10 people on board.

  9. Anthony

    I think the 1sttrain of the day from Carmarthen – Fishguard Harbour is actually attached to the Milrd Haven service where it detaches at Claberston road before going to Fishguard th works down to Claberston , back to Fishguard ten does the Fishguard Harbour – Manchester service . If ATW had enough rolling stock then I think it would be great if there was a train from Milford Haven at 08:00 which attached to the Fishguard portion at Claberston road to form a 4 carriage train to Manchester with the return working also being 4 carriages which would be great when it worked the 17:39 departure from Cardiff central to Milford Haven/Fishguard Harbour

    • Blocking Back

      No, the first down Fishguard train of the day – the 2E06 – is a 175 unit that comes straight down from Carmarthen.

  10. Rhydgaled

    DBJ – Apparently (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_Class_141) some Pacers (class 141, no longer in use in Britain) were indeed sold to Iran. I haven’t heard any rumors that any more Pacers will go there though. Pacers aside, I don’t see any problem with much of the rolling stock in Wales and would hope it is not replaced (newer DMUs are heavier and hence less fuel efficient and more expensive to run, and electrification in much of Pembrokeshire is out of the question for now). We do have a shortage of 153s and 158s, and 150s are used on routes they are unsuitable for (the daytime Fishguard boat train being the main culprit), but in the main we have decent stock outside the Pacer-dominated ValleyLines. Hopefully the Welsh Government plans to get the DfT in London to fund electrification will succeed and allow Wales to dispose of all it’s Pacers.

    An interesting quote from Swansea Jack: “DafT in their wisdom cancelled their mythical 200 plus order for new DMUs saying industry wouldn’t finance the things because of rising fuel prices over the medium / long term.” This is the same DfT (AKA DafT) who want to order 35 5-car underfloor-diesel-engined Intercity trains to replace 14 9-car diesel trains (some of which spend their entire day under the wires) on East Coast. The requirement to replace these 9-car diesels could be met by ordering new electric trains and using 8 existing class 67 diesel locomotives to shift them over non-electrified routes (which includes the 3 which are required for the Caledonian sleeper anyway). Closer to home, they want to order another 35 of these 5-car diesel express units for Great Western because they are refusing to do a proper job of electrification.

    As for your other point, I don’t think any of the new services involve passing non-stop through stations that aren’t closed. The Clarbeston Road workings are just Fishguard Harbour – Clarbeston Road, until Fishguard & Goodwick opens there are no stations to stop at between them anyway. Arriva genuinely did ignore Stena’s offer of overnight stabling at the harbour so there are early and late passenger services between Fishguard and Carmarthen that are likely to run empty, but there are no true ECS moves (ie. trips not advertised as passenger services) involved. While there would have undoubtedly been an expense had they decided to stable a unit at the harbour overnight, I do wonder what Arriva would have done if the assembly had provided funding for 8 very specific extra services, namely:
    06:53 FGH – Clarbeston Road,
    08:04 FGH – CMN (eastwards was pre-existing),
    09:56 FGH – CMN
    19:00 FGH – Clarbeston Road
    07:34 Clarbeston Road – FGH (only included here because Arriva wouldn’t have had an alternative to running it anyway due to the funded eastbound trips)
    09:07 CMN – FGH (east of there was pre-existing I think)
    16:40 SWA – FGH and
    20:05 Clarbeston Road – FGH

    Would they have run the ECS moves then, or would they have realised it would be cheaper to buy a car for driver and guard to share to get them between Carmarthen and a unit stabled at Fishguard Harbour?

    Swansea Jack – Yes the AA journey planner is probably underestimating Cardiff traffic and hence the Carmarthen – Cardiff journey time. Therefore, with a 1hr 25min journey time by rail (via Swansea District Line) the Carmarthen to Cardiff journey time probably becomes competitive, as you say. However, for passengers going from Carmarthen to somewhere beyond Cardiff rail needs to be even faster than that to be time competitive, especially when you consider there will probably be a 10min wait for an onward train in Cardiff. A 1hr 25min Carmarthen to Cardiff journey time by rail however is what is achievable with existing infrastructure, so is a more rational aim at present.
    An hourly rail service is of course already available between Carmarthen and Swansea (with 2 trains in some hours). With that in mind, and with the Fishguard survey from a few years back showing greater demand for travel to Cardiff than to Carmarthen and Swansea put together, I think the highest priority for south-west Wales rail services (now the Fishguard line has effectively been reopened) is direct fast services to/from Cardiff via the Swansea District Line.

    There is supposed to be one more class 175 returning from the Holyhead – Wrexham – Cardiff express when the loco-hauled stock finally arrives to release it. There is probably a 150 on a long-distance train somewhere in Wales it is needed to replace though. As expensive as loco-hauled trains may appear, I doubt running a 3-car 175 is far behind. WAG Express 2 (a 2-car 175) apparently cost £625k for 6 months, double that to get a year’s worth and you are talking £1.25m. The class 57-hauled express was £1.7m for a year (including the Chef’s wages I believe), and the contract for class 67s works out cheaper thanks to being a longer-term deal. Regardless of whether loco-hauled trains are more expensive, if you don’t use loco-hauled trains there is no spare rolling stock for anything. Forget Loco-hauled trains = Forget extra services, forget additional capacity.

    You have to put the loco-hauled stock where the passengers are though, to maximise the benefits gained from the cost of running it. Running it over quiet sections of the network would probably be considered a waste of funds by WAG, which is why I suggest that west Wales – Swansea district line – Cardiff services could allow the Manchester – Carmarthen route to be split into busy, 4 or 5 carriage LHCS Manchester – Swansea services and quieter Swansea – Carmarthen 175/double-153 services. Splitting the Manchester – Milford/Carmarthen trains into two services at Swansea is not ideal, but perhaps better than retaining current service levels and crushed ‘sardine express’ workings between Cardiff and Swansea with 2-car 175s (or 2-car anythings really).

    You make a very good point about trying to focus on the positives more to try and encourage further use of the trial trains. However, it strikes me that most of the problems covered are related solely to already existing services. The 17:39 is not a new service, it has probably been a problem for Milford Haven / Haverfordwest / Carmarthen bound passengers for some time. As a further example, my complaint of unsuitable rolling stock concerns only the existing express boat train. The 153s and 150s used on the new services are appropriate for the less hurried calling pattern or shorter-distances of these services.

    Remember, the only new working east of Carmarthen is the extension from Swansea to Fishguard of the 15:14 from Cardiff. Judging by the lack of complaints, the new services seem to be connecting Fishguard to the existing services well. Pre-existing issues with the pre-existing services do concern us, but these are campaigns for other improvements, not complaints against the new services which are a great improvement in travel options to / from Fishguard.

    How do you suggest we sort out the problems with pre-existing services without discouraging first timers from using the new trial train services? I recall somebody commented on this website a while back, informing us of a site called “Fix My Transport” that could perhaps be used to put pressure on ATW. Perhaps issues not specifically related to our extra services should be put there instead?

    It looks like you are right about Gowerton being the spanner in the works regarding Spad’s suggestions. The 18:41 from Swansea arrives 18:59 at Llanelli, from where another train heads south at 18:57 to occupy the single line. If you delay the 18:41 by quarter of an hour to await the London connection, you would have to delay the southbound working too or make the 18:41 wait even longer in Swansea.

    Regarding useful advertising, I have been wondering why there is no marketing name for our area. Wales has the “Heart Of Wales Line”, “Cambrian Lines” (“Cambrian Coast Line” and “Cambrian Main Line”), “Borderlands Line” and “Conwy Valley Line”. However, our area has to make do with “West Wales Lines”. First of all, West Wales could equally be taken to include Holyhead and Aberystwyth (both on the west coast) as well as our area. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to come up with much, “Pembroke & Tenby Railway” is the best tag I can think of (didn’t make it up, clearly) for the Pembroke branch, and Whitland to Wolfscastle could be the “Landsker Line” except for the fact Wolfscastle is halfway along the rail route not at either end.

    Anthony – I hope any splitting/attaching is done with appropriately equipped units, allowing passengers to change unit while the train is in motion if they board the wrong one. 175s do not have corridor connections on the ends of the units, so if we are going to have more regional express services which split and join perhaps ATW should approach another operator to arrange a swap of our 175s for an equal number of class 158 vehicles.

    No point in new leaflets showing the station, nothing much to look at anymore (probably would have been the best spot of a poster snap if the station building was still there). I guess we still have the Wolfscastle, but is there anywhere you can get a shot of a train with that in the background? The lack of 158s on the Fishguard line (better looking than the other units at ATW’s disposal I think) also makes nice photos tricky. A timetable leaflet showing calling times at the new station would be very helpful though, when it opens.

    Blocking Back – so there are always at least half a dozen people on the 06:53 from Fishguard? That is much better than I had expected for that service such a short time into the trial. 10-20 passengers on the 08:04 and 09:56 is encouraging news too, but 20-30 passengers for Fishguard on the extended Swansea (15:14 from Cardiff) is even better. 5-10 people on board the 20:05 from Clarbeston Road is a marked improvement from my encounter with the 17:39 sardine train, where my party of one other and I were joined by just one other passenger on the 2-car 150 from Clarbeston into Fishguard, we almost could have had a whole carriage each!

    • Blocking Back

      As I said, it’s just my unscientific observations. I might just be seeing them on good days. However, I’ve yet to see a single person on the first two Down trains to Fishguard or the last Up train and they are effectively running as Empty Stock.

      Re. sending 150s to Iran: We really shouldn’t be giving them any more reasons to hate us. However, it would be best to send them before they get nuclear weapons and ICBMs, as they’ll find it less easy to retaliate.

  11. Anthony

    Rhydgaled – Hopefully ATW will be able to get additional dmu’s soon particulary around 2015 when some class 158′ & class 170’s will be released by Scotrail, nothing to stop ATW using the class 170’s to displace some 2 carriage 175’s to run an express link between Fishguard Harbour & Cardiff using the Swansea district Line.

    Also it seems now that the DFT have listened to those campaigning against the bi-mode IEP’s with an annoucement about this & electrification due soon.

    I think extending the 15:14 Cardiff – Swansea service through to Fishguard Harbour wasa very good idea, although I do think perhaps that it would have been better for it to leave Swansea at 16:35 rather than 16:40 and it passes the service which will work the 16:55 departure from Swansea to Manchester somewhere near Cockett and clear the single line before the next train down from Pembroke dock.

    Anway I am glad the service is doing well although I think that there is still much more work that needs to be done

  12. DBJ

    Some interesting discussion has come out from my initial comments, which shows there’s a lot of people out there passionately supporting this new service, which can only be a good thing. Pleased to hear passenger numbers are doing OK, I’ve been on a H’west train before and had it all to myself past Whitland, so you never know how many will board from one day to the next! It also goes without saying that it is great news to have these extra trains, no matter what stock they are, but when we are trying to convince Jo Public to get out of their cars and on to the rails, travelling in a rattly old pacer with not much legroom and broken heaters hardly helps the cause!

    With regards to my earlier comment about ghost services, I was referring to the earlier post ‘Return to Fishguard’ where a 150 appears at Clarbie Road to form a shuttle service, so just wondered if that ran empty from Carmarthen, and if it could be unitised in a more efficient way. It could be that the Pembroke Dock services could be brought into play, maybe having two units alternating back and forward to Fishguard and PDock via Whitland or Carmarthen, connecting to the Manchester services.

    Anyway, keep up the good work with the website!

    • Spad

      We will – and everyone who wants this train service to succeed, just keep on commenting!
      Praise or criticism, good news or bad – that’s not the issue.
      Fishguard Trains is your platform for well-informed debate.
      60 posts and 270 comments (some as long as posts) on this site since April have informed (and hopefully entertained) the travelling public. With 23,549 hits in seven months, a lot of people know much more about trains to Fishguard.

      Knowledge is power.

  13. John Hughes

    An update on the “Sardine Express”; while things are no better at Cardiff Central, I have found a way around the crush! Make sure you are at the west end of Platform 3a (just beyond the waiting rooms buildings) and stand firmly against the yellow line at 5.30 p.m. That beats the rush of Swansea commuters who will stand behind you. When the train comes in, shuffle down the yellow line until you are by the door, then forget all about politeness and get on the train smartly – bingo! – you’ll get a seat and leave the Swansea commuters standing.

    While the 150s are not the greatest of trains on the shuttle, they are clean and quite fresh inside; I find them more than acceptable for the service.

    • Spad

      Is it wise to reveal your trade secrets John? Fishguard Trains is read by many travellers, not only us westerners. That includes the odd Swansea commuter who might not be so happy to stand behind you in future. Full house!

  14. Anthony

    John I don’t think your the only person who has that idea on how to get a seat on the 17:39 Milford Haven service.

    Personally I think long distance passengers travelling from Card iff to Carmarthen, Milford Haven & Fishguard should be given priority for seats on this service.

    There times where I wish teh 17:39 was still a through service from Ebbw Vale and could be worked by a class 150 & 153 as far as Swansea with 1 unit then being used on the 19:10 Swansea – Cardiff service instaed of the unit working the 18:04 Cardiff – Swansea swanline service.

  15. Swansea Jack

    The difficulty is of course actua;;y trying to stop the shorter distance passengers from travelling on the service. Other than running the train non-stop to Swansea or Llanelli even I cannot think of anything else that would work. Running the service after the following London – Swansea would mean the train concerned (the 17:39 as now is) would then lose its path through Gowerton resulting in a far later arrival further West. Gowerton re-doubling and the resultant re-timing of all West Wales services should hopefully solve this particular issue, and many others besides…..

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