Speed to the West

Eight months ago today, Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones announced up to £1.4m funding annually for extra train services to Fishguard. Eight months later we have the new trains, and soon we’ll have a new station for them to stop at. Many questions remain, but everyone agrees we need this to succeed.

To mark the day, Fishguard Trains offers a few figures from official sources:

poster for beach camping holidays in railway carriage

Mind the Gap

Between April-September this year, Welsh Government paid £85,748,275 to Arriva Trains Wales (source: wales.gov.uk). That’s an annual rate of £171,496,550.

If Welsh Government were to spend the maximum £1.4m on Fishguard’s subsidised service (it would be interesting to know what they are spending), that would represent just over 0.8% of all Welsh expenditure on Arriva.

The population of Wales has recently topped 3 million (3,006400 to be exact). What’s the local population served by the new service? Extending our patch as far as Dinas, Newport, Scleddau and Letterston, there are 11,274 of us. We amount to just under 0.4% of the Welsh population.

So if the maximum was spent, we would have a generous share of the national spend: 0.8% for only 0.4% of the population.

But that does not account for seasonal visitors, the mainstay of our economy. If you add them – let’s say our population doubles in the summer – then 22,548 people are served by the new service. That’s nearly 0.8% of the Welsh population.

Of course, that argument depends on our success in persuading our seasonal visitors to leave the car at home and come by train. Are we gearing up to do that in 2012?

P.S. Have you used the new Fishguard Trains INDEX yet? It’s a quick way of searching this site for the stories that interest you. Click INDEX above. For example, this post is indexed under MARKETING.

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