Goodwick Station: The final works

rail track relaid close to platform at Goodwick

ready to board

The track is now relaid close to the platform at Goodwick. Pembrokeshire County Council are working to complete and reopen the station in March 2012. So what’s left to be done, and what happens next?

As the picture shows, the rail track is back where it belongs, after Network Rail relaid it on November 15/16 – see the Fishguard Trains video and picture report here.

large pile of track ballast left from track works

surplus to requirements

Network Rail still has to return for some minor works on the platform – tidying and pointing, and checking that the surface meets today’s standards.

But the very next job is to remove the huge stone pile, left from track relaying works.

Once that’s gone, Pembrokeshire CC’s contractors can go in and resurface the car park. The lack of car parking at Fishguard Harbour Station always made that a hopeless terminus for a local service. So the station car park will not only make our trains accessible to the twin towns, but to the whole of  North Pembrokeshire.

brick shed at Goodwick Station minus its roof

know a good roofer?

What about the brick building, the last undemolished part of old Goodwick station? Fishguard Trains was told this week that it has to be re-roofed, but beyond that there are no plans to use it at present. That seems like a fine opportunity – but for what? Presumably there will be a simple shelter on the platform, and eventually Pembrokeshire CC will be required (in law) to build a proper replacement for the original station building – as part of the conservation area. So the brick building is waiting for a new role. Any suggestions?

Fishguard Trains asked Pembrokeshire CC if the car park will also provide a bus interchange? Apparently not, is the answer. Buses will instead stop outside the station. We look forward with interest to learning how this will be managed,  using the present lay-by.

pedestrian steps to the platform at Goodwick

final steps

No less than five bus routes can and should stop at Goodwick Station – the 410 town bus of course, but also the 413 Fishguard-St Davids. the 404 Strumble Shuttle and 405 Poppit Rocket (extended down from its present terminus at Fishguard Square), and above all the 412 Cardigan to Haverforwest service.

This is not a detail. Welsh Government is committed to an integrated transport policy, but public transport in and around Fishguard is anything but integrated. Reopening the town’s station is a critical opportunity to bring together all the different bus and rail services. Only then will the whole of North Pembrokeshire benefit from the public money that is going into the rail service. And only then will we have a decent alternative to our cars.

41 Comments

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41 Responses to Goodwick Station: The final works

  1. Swansea Jack

    I hope the council are planning to reopen the steps leading down to the station – the ones shown in the final steps photograph at the end of that piece. They’ll need to modify the safety barriers though!

    I think having a bus stop in the existing layby is fine. It saves on costs and won’t delay the town service buses for non-rail passengers either. Only question about that is it’ll work well for Goodwick bound buses, but what about those heading towards Fishguard?

    I agree that the St Davids and Strumble shuttle buses should call there, and extending the Poppit Rocket and the Gwaun Valley Green Dragon Summer service to Goodwick would be a god idea. Not so sure about the 412, although it would be good to give a through service from the Newport direction directly into the trains.

    • Rhydgaled

      Have you actually managed to get offical confirmation that Pembrokeshire CC will be required (in law) to build a replica of the original building? That’s certainly the message I got from some sources at the council, but another person claimed that they could escape the conservation area rules because of the dangourous condition of the building. I’ve been on to our local AM, Paul Davies, about that and he got a letter out of the council but that was devoid of an answer.

      My opinion on the brick structure is that it should be roofed ASAP and then utilised as a shelter (avoiding the need to provide bus shelter or anything like that) until a replica of the real station building appears. Once that happens, the brick structure will serve no futher purpose and personally I don’t think it makes any positive contribution to the character of the area so it can be removed at that point.

      I agree that opening of the steps down from the bridge to the brick shelter should happen and that having the bus stop in the layby is good. However, the 405 (Poppit Rocket) would terminate, so I think it might be a good idea to make that an exception and extend it right up to where the replica building will hopefully rise. As for the other buses:

      412 – The current connection into the 08:04 came via Goodwick anyway, hopefully the station re-opening will allow it to revert to leaving Cardigan at 7am and still make a good connection with the train (would be nice if it left F&G at 07:56, with the 09:56 exactly two hours later). Just make it go via Station Hill first so it is on the bus-stop side of the road, then Wern road (A487) on the way back up to Fishguard, rather than the other way round. The same applies in the evening, when I suggest diverting the 5:45 from Haverfordwest (last bus to Cardigan at present). This should catch the inbound 15:14 from Cardiff nicely. The third and final 412 deviation would be one to meet the train from Clarbeston Road that meets the 17:39 from Cardiff, since the 410 buses have gone home to Newport by that point. That bus should also be extended through to Cardigan, and form an 07:50 departure from Cardigan next morning, hopefully with a good 410 connection down to meet the 09:56.

      413 – St. Davids bound – simply head straight across to Goodwick square via Station Hill, before heading back to the 487.
      413 – Fishguard bound – take Wern Road (A487) all the way up to the roundabout, then turn left up past the station bus stop to Goodwick square, then loop round on Main Street past the entrance to the Industral estate then back along Wern Road to the roundabout before turning right (past the mini Tesco) up to Fishguard. Seems a bit time consuming, but similar happens at Aberaeron and it makes for much safer interchange than when you have to cross a road. 410 and 404 could use similar looping arangments.

      As a not-so-short-term solution to the 412 not going via Goodwick very often, it’d be nice to see a 2-hourly X50 service from Aberystwyth, extended through to St. Davids. That would replace the 413, and alternate 412 trips between Fishguard and Cardigan, connecting with trains at Fishguard & Goodwick and a Fishguard – Haverfordwest 412 at Fishguard Town Hall. If the trains were all at about 56mins past odd hours it should connect quite nicely.

      Does Network Rail need all that gravel? If not, maybe PCC could just spread it out over the muddy bits to make a car park more cheaply.

      • Spad

        You’ll find coverage of the demolition/replacement issue in several posts – go to INDEX and browse the posts from Fate of a Station to Goodwick Station – the next big wind.
        Here’s a key passage: “Demolition will proceed even though it breaches Pembrokeshire CC’s own Policy 80, which only allows a building in a conservation area to be demolished if it makes no contribution to the character or appearance of the area, AND if there are approved proposals for reuse of the site. Goodwick Station meets neither condition, but demolition will still proceed on grounds of public safety – the station is dangerous. Safety trumps conservation.

        But while the building will come down, and with it a part of our community’s history, there is clearly support at County Hall for the idea that effort is needed to build something worthwhile in its place. The talk there is of replacing it not with a “bus shelter” but of a well-designed replacement: “I hope it can be replicated, and affordably, to make it back into the station it was” is one officer’s remarkably upbeat comment to Fishguard Trains.”

        A Pembrokeshire officer’s exact words to FIshguard Trains were: “We can take it down, but in a Conservation Area, we have to make some effort to put something back.” Who will judge whether Pembrokeshire have – in the fullness of time – made that effort? As we see it, it will be Welsh Government, as Pembrokeshire cannot be judge and jury in their own development issue.

        Swansea Jack – if you want passengers on the 412 from Newport to connect to the trains, surely you’d also want them to return home at some point? That has to mean diverting the relevant 412 services in both directions. If it is acceptable for a long-distance service like the 412 to be routed off the A40 and through the back lanes of Trecwn and Letterston, what good reason is there for not routing it past a railway interchange?

        As to whether Network Rail needs all that gravel, perhaps it’s to be shipped east as ballast for Crossrail.

  2. Swansea Jack

    Rhydgaled – the Goodwick station building issue must not lead to a delay in the reopening, as that could jeopardise the whole additional trains scheme, so a campaign over this issue is the last thing we need at the moment!!

    With the current financial climate I would have thought that a simple bus shelter affair for the time being would be best, with a longer term consideration of what type of building is needed in the longer term. That consideration will need to consider the likely use of such a building, and would probably be tied in with the long term situation over the station at Fishguard Harbour with all the considerations of the Marina development etc as well as seeing how successful these trains are. We seem to be on around 20 000 – 25 000 passengers per annum or so at present rates, with expectations of more once Goodwick reopens, and as the tourist season etc arrives. Remember Ebbw Vale had 138 000 in the first year, and there is no expensive station building there!

    What we cannot do is to hold back the station reopening over some misty eyed nostalgia over a building that would not have been suitable for modern day use even if it hadn’t been falling down.

    People talk about ticket offices, buffets / cafes / tourist information centres, waiting rooms et al – meanwhile in the real world we need to realise that passenger throughput at the moment does not justify such uses.

    Reconstructing a replica of the 1899 wooden building is pointless if it will simply lie unused and prone to vandalism – after all that is exactly what happened to the original structure after its use as a furniture storage site ended wasn’t it?!

    Finally your disdain for the remaining brick building is rather concerning – surely that is also part of the conservation area, but you feel that it could just be demolished without a thought once a new structure is finished. Try looking at what stations like Taffs Well in the Valley lines around Cardiff gets – and that is with a train service of 12 trains per hour ( 6 each way to from Cardiff) and a station car park of over 100 spaces.

    Things have progressed extremely quickly over this whole scheme, and for that we need to be very thankful. We need to focus on the important things here – we are talking about developing a 21st century transport system and an economic lifeline for the area here not some sepia toned postcard from the 1930s!

    Spad – valid comments about the 412, but we do have to balance the needs of passengers from the Newport direction heading for the trains with the current users of the 412 to H’West. It is noticeable that the via Trecwn and Mathry Road buses are quieter than the direct ones – that needs to be considered too.

  3. Rhydgaled

    Spad – I remember your previous posts on the station building. However, due to the lack of any anouncment from the council over that issue I am slightly concerned that they might be quietly trying to avoid the issue, or that WAG may have granted conservation area consent.

    Swansea Jack – I agree that the Goodwick station building issue must not lead to a delay in the reopening, all I want to hear is an admition from the council that they are required to eventually build a replica. In the current financial climate I would also agree that a cheap and simple shelter is now the best option for now, and probablly for the remainder of the trial. My opinion is that the brick structure is ideal for this purpose, far better than bringing in a plastic/metal bus shelter and might even be cheaper.

    I do not hold a distain for the brick structure, it doesn’t have a negative effect on the appearance of the area but my opinion is it doesn’t make a positive contibution either. As well as making no contribution to the character or appearance of the area it would probablly be surplus to requirements once a replica of the wooden building is built. The only reason to keep the brick building then that I can see would be to use it as a bike shed, but given the steep hills to Goodwick and Fishguard are passengers likely to arrive by bike?

    I do realise that passenger throughput (not just at the moment but for some time to come) is not sufficent to justify a ticket office or buffet/cafe and I don’t think I’ve seriously suggested providing such facilities (a ticket machine is another matter). I think I may have suggested a tourist information centre, for which I think Fishguard & Goodwick station would be a better site than the Ocean Lab building. However, I no longer think that a good idea unless a suitable alternative use is found for the Ocean Lab building. I do however disagree with your assertion that the building would be unsuitable for modern day use. Waiting rooms are still needed if we are to encourage modal shift to public transport as a whole, rather than just encouraging passengers to drive to a station and get on a train.

    Making every single connection totaly optimal (7 minutes is probablly right) is not going to happen, and longer waits than 10 minutes without a waiting room in bad weather will put pepole off using public transport for whole journeys.

    In summary then, what I hope to see regarding the station is:
    March 2012 (prefrablly sooner) – station opens (without a shelter if the brick building can’t be roofed in time, but hopefully it can)
    Soon after – brick building opened as shelter (if not ready by the time the station is opened).
    September 2014 – End of successful trial and start of indefinate train services. Announcment of work to construct replica station building.
    October/November 2014 – replica station building opens with waiting room and hopefully a ticket machine and public toilets, no ticket office or cafe because traffic levels do not justify permenant staffing.

    On the buses, you may be correct in saying the Trecwn services are less popular, but the of few buses that avoid Mathry Road most run school-days only and go via Fishguard school instead. As I said above, I would only suggest diverting three Cardigan/Newport – Haverfordwest services to Fishguard & Goodwick, and I think all three can be justified.

    The first is the 7am Cardigan – Haverfordwest run that went via Goodwick anyway, trains or no trains, and seemed to pick up a fair few passengers at Goodwick when I used it frequently to get to college.

    The second is the 5:45pm from Haverfordwest, the last (current) trip to Cardigan, which would be missed by any town service connection from the 15:14 from Cardiff. From your reports that seems to be the busiest new service.

    The final diversion would be the 7:45pm (the last 412 from Haverfordwest). That would connect to the final evening train arrival, and would be useful to Goodwick residents coming home from Haverfordwest or Fishguard too as the 410 has stopped running by that time of the evening. Therefore that diversion is needed to get passengers from the train up to Fishguard (and maybe even points higher up the hill in Goodwick). Extending the service to Cardigan (I’m not suggesting extending any of the others that currently terminate at Newport to Cardigan by the way) would, as I’ve said before, enable Cardigan (and points between there and Newport) to be reached solely by public transport from a 17:39 Cardiff departure (you need a car to reach Cardigan if you leave Cardiff later than 16:04 at the moment, or to reach anywhere between Cardigan and Newport leaving Cardiff after 14:48).

  4. Rob

    The spent ballast has been donated to the Gwili Railway, and we’re very grateful!

  5. Swansea Jack

    Fantastic news Rob. That should go some way towards getting the final sextion south to Carmarthen North which is excellent news. As far as it being spent ballast – I noticed at the time of the slewing that the excavators were spreading some of the old ballast on the old down loop / down platform site at Goodwick – from what I could see the Gwili might be pleasantly surprised at the quality of some of that ballast in the pile at the yard.

    That ballast needs removing soon though, so that PCC can get on with sorting out the access and car park. After all we’ve got a station opening ceremony to attend!

  6. Bulleid Pacific

    There could be another use for part of the replica of the original station building. In conjunction with the Pembrokeshire County Council Museums Service, part of the building could be used as a local transport heritage centre, charting the development of Goodwick Harbour from fishing port to the international ferry terminal it is today.

    The story of getting the railway into Fishguard is of note, particularly as it was initially the brainchild of Brunel and his investors, whilst the port was also served by the North Pembrokeshire Railway from Rosebush. There are also the boat trains direct to Paddington, livestock, the locomotive shed (87J), all of which could do with being interpreted for both local and visitor alike. The other forms of transport represented could include shipping and the use of Fishguard as a seaplane base during the First World War.

    As a further suggestion, the small brick outbuilding could be used as a cycle-hire shop for tourists and marina-users, thus establishing an environmentally-engaged transport hub. There’s too much wiping away of the past for change’s sake: take the destruction of the signal boxes on the North Cotswold Line, or the plans to knock down and redevelop parts of London Bridge and Waterloo stations. Whilst money is an issue, let us strive to buck the trend and produce something of which the local community can be proud. A station shouldn’t just be a means of getting away from an area; it should also welcome newcomers and act as the ‘shop window’ for both towns.

    • Rhydgaled

      Great idea Bulleid Pacific. As long as it doesn’t prevent the building being used as a waiting room free of charge, and outside sensible staffing hours, a museum of the railway’s history in a replica of the original building would be great.

      Perhaps my suggestion of a tourist information in a replica of Fishguard & Goodwick’s station building isn’t so far fetched after all either, as this morning I was in Fishguard inspecting the plans for the proposed marina. The current tourist information, the Ocean Lab building, seems to have disapeared under those plans, making re-location of the tourist information to Fishguard & Goodwick station a much more sensible move.

      Thankfully, there does not appear to be anything in the marina plans that would jepodise the future of Fishguard Harbour station, vital to providing decent ferry interchange and platform capacity for long trains, such as steam excursions and for catering for increased rail-sail passenger numbers during any interuptions to air services.

      As for wiping away the past, I am concerned at the plan to hide Aberystwyth’s listed station building behind a huge metal lettering in a glass frontage, alongside refurbishment of the station. The university’s student newpaper claims work will start next year, and there’s been wisperings on the rail fourms for a while, yet there is no planning application. Are the Welsh Government planning to fund this glass frontage (money which should be spent on a waiting room, or improvments at other stations, in my opinion) without planning permission under the umbrella of the station’s renovation?

  7. Swansea Jack

    A visit to Goodwick yesterday shows that the construction work for the station has now started. An excavator has lifted the old paving slabs from the platform but left the old edging slabs in place. The South end platform extension with the tarmac surface has been left in-situ at present. There is a pile of the tactlie pavers ready to be installed on the platform for visibly impared travellers – these usually get placed just behind the edging slabs.

    The old station building foundation has been cleaned out and is being backfilled with re-inforcing mesh for a new foundation adjacent. The latest work has seen more clearance around the old loading ramp, and the metal plates used to allow cars to end load onto the motorail flats are now uncovered and are in the up position.

    I understand that the on-site contractors are there to complete the station works, so it’s great to see the work progressing so that we can have reopening in the Spring. I notice that the 6th of April will mark the 48th anniversary of the mad axeman in the shape of Richard Beeching’s closure of the station, it’s great to think that in a few short months another of his errors will have been reversed!

    PCC have also been busy with the raised kerbs for the bus stops – the Goodwick bound one being in the existing lay-by, with the Fishguard bound one being opposite the station access road. Paths from the bus stop to the station gate have been done as has a foundation for a bus shelter. Things seem to be coming together now!

    • Rhydgaled

      So rather than routing the buses the other way around the Goodwick loop, passengers for Fishguard will have to cross the road? That’s disapointing if true.

      Any idea what day of the week the station re-openning will be? I would like to come along, perhaps to take the 08:04 to Whitland and then come back on the train from Cardiff/Hereford that splits at Whitland as I did on launch day, but my university timetable could scupper that.

      I wrote to somebody at the council a while back, partly to draw attention to some of the ideas posted on this page, and the (recent) reply suggested the station re-opening will be in April rather than March. This makes me wonder whether they are now planning to build a replacment station building in time for the station openning, rather than after the trial service finishes (provided it is deemed a success) which I thought a more realistic hope.

  8. Swansea Jack

    It is hoped the reopening will take place on a Saturday, although a date for opening is still unknown at present.

    The Fishguard bound bus stop – it needs to be remembered that the 410 Town services are a commercial operation by Richards Bros, which means the CC cannot tell them what to run or via what route. The resulting walking distance from the station platform to either bus stop is still rather short, and compares well with somewhere like Cardiff where the bus station is in front of the rail station at Central.

    Within the present financial straight-jacket under which this scheme is progressing I consider it wonderful that we will get the raised kerbs and a shelter ( so it would appear) at what is a potentially close location to the station. With regard to buses I agree that getting the morning Southbound 412 to connect into the morning train service as it goes via Goodwick square anyway, and the last Northbound to go via Goodwick to provide a connection after the last 410 has run would be a good idea worth investigating.

    Getting passengers to fully use the new train service has always depended on getting a good, low cost park and ride location at Goodwick, with suitable bus and walking links, both for the convenience, but also as a very visible advertisement of the existence of the train service. Seeing a BR double arrow red sign by the station entrance, and seeing Fishguard & Goodwick mentioned in the national rail timetable after a gap of 48 years will certainly raise the new train service’s profile.

    • Rhydgaled

      My concern with the bus stop being across the road is saftey rather than the slightly extended walking distance. Amittedly that road isn’t as bad as the truly awful suituation in Haverfordwest where predestrians have to brave crossing a dual carriageway to reach the station (I’ve come frighteningly close to misjudging when to cross there once or twice (I’ve also frightened myself crossing a road when running after a ‘connecting’ bus in Aberaeron after the one I had just got off was late)). These near-misses are why I’m rather nervous about crossing busy roads now.

      I think a 412 needs diverting for both new evening trains, with the last present service to Cardigan diverting to connect with the 15:14 from Cardiff and a later service diverting to connect with the last new service of the day, because of the lack of 410 services that late as you say.

      I notice Richards Bros now have wireless internet available on some of their buses. Anyone know what extent this fittment is? (I’ve only noticed it on 412 vehicles, including the TrawsCambria X50 liveried bus YJ55BKF which tends to run one 412 trip from Cardigan to Haverfordwest and back).

      Will Fishguard & Goodwick be getting a BR double-arrow sign? If it is, I agree that will be a good visble advert to help raise awarness of the new station and service. While I don’t expect a station building this year, I do wonder what else could have delayed the schedule from a March re-opening to an April one.

  9. Anthony

    Great to see work is coming along well. Hopefully being a saturday it will be a whole lot easier to visit the new station at Fishguard & Goodwick.

    I hope ATW put a 2 cariage train on some of the services particulary the 09:56 Fishguard Harbour – Carmarthen which I think will be well filmed especially by the locals eager to try the new station.

    Hopefully I will be there for this launch and hopefully BBC wales will do a bit to piut on the BBC wales news.

    I think the current problems are that passenger numbers are low because of

    1.) Price of parking at the harbour station (Goodwick station should sort this)
    2.) no clockface timetable and trains are irregular and I think some peoople may be put off by changing at Claberston road.

    Hopefully by the time the trial ends by 2015 there should be a lot of class 158’s & 170’s released by scotrail perhaps some to allow FGW to extend the Portsmouth Harbour – Cardiff trains through to Fishguard Hbr every 2 hours

  10. Swansea Jack

    Rhydgaled – I agree that crossing the road near to County Hall in Haverfordwest is a big issue – I have raised this with County Hall and pointed out how Clunderwen area youngsters go to Carmarthen to shop instead as they feel safer using the new river crossing etc there. Goodwick should get a BR double Arrow as that is still the recognised symbol for a station in the UK.

    Anthony – I agree with your comments about the parking charges. Those who can get a lift to the station are fine, but others seem to brave a long walk from Goodwick or the Parrog car park – hardly ideal when you can park in Haverfordwest and Clunderwen station car parks for free and save the long walk.

    I cannot see us getting a 2 hourly service in the short to medium term and as the Portsmouth to Cardiff leg is part of FGW’s franchise and Cardiff to Fishguard is part of the ATW franchise your through train idea is unlikely. I do agree that passengers are reluctant to change at Clarbeston Road – especially in the evening off the 17:39 from Cardiff, I have been looking at options over that one and will be making a suggestion to the relevant authorities about a change that would give a connection at Carmarthen rather than Clarby Road – at least Carmarthen is a manned station in the evenings, with sufficient lighting etc which should allay passenger’s concerns somewhat.

  11. Anthony

    Swnasea Jack, I meant as a long term goal rather than a short term thing.

    An evening connection would be great and once ATW get more dmu’s to boost capacity elsewhere on the ATW network maybe a unit could be found to plug the large gap between trains in the afternoon.

  12. Rhydgaled

    Swansea Jack – I know that the BR sign is still the recognised station symbol, I was just wondering whether (given the funding and goal of March/April openning) they would bother with a sign at all.

    Anthony – What’s wrong with the DMU that sits in Swansea for most of the afternoon? Admittedly the timeings are a little tight, but I think it could get to Fishguard and back, funding is probablly the issue. I think the following times might work:

    ATTACH
    Swansea dep. 13:14
    Llanelli arr. 13:31
    DETACH
    Llanelli dep. 13:37 (HOWL portion departs at 13:35)
    Carmarthen arr. 14:03
    Carmarthen dep. 14:08
    Fishguard arr. 14:58

    Fishguard dep. 15:21
    Carmarthen arr. 16:10
    Carmarthen dep. 16:15
    Swansea arr. 17:05
    Swansea dep. 17:10 (existing Swanline service)
    Cardiff arr. 18:20 (existing Swanline service)

    As for the Portsmouth service, couldn’t Wales franchise staff would work the 2-car 158 west of Cardiff, and Great Western staff work the 4-car 158 east thereof? Don’t Northern staff work the Scotrail services between Newcastle and Carlise?

    As for sorting out the evening connection at Clarbeston Road, my short-term idea for trying to get some more use of the Swansea District Line for express services runs thus:
    1. Release the class 175 from ‘WAG Express 2’ by introducing the class 67s and DVTs
    2. Use this class 175 to get a class 150 off a long-distance diagram
    3. Use this class 150 to get a class 158 off the Maesteg brance
    4. Use this class 158 for the following services:
    07:56 Fishguard & Goodwick (or 08:50 Carmarthen) to Cardiff Central (via Swansea District Line)
    Existing 10:57 Cardiff Central to Fishguard Harbour and 13:30 return (with extra stops at Carmarthen, Port Talbot and Bridgend) (releases a class 150 to plug some of the 2hr gaps in ATW’s Cardiff – Cheltenham service)
    17:54 Cardiff Central to Fishguard & Goodwick (via Swansea District Line), arrive 20:31 (with a long wait in Carmarthen 19:16 to 19:40 to connect with 18:41 from Swansea (17:39 from Cardiff)).

    As an extension to the above idea, the 175 that currently runs the 08:04 from FGH could go back on the 07:09 from Pembroke Dock. The Sprinter that I assume must run the 07:09 at the moment would then be able to run a 06:28 Fishguard & Goodwick to Carmarthen instead (replacing the 06:53 Fishguard to Clarbeston Road), along with a 07:25 Carmarthen to Haverfordwest and 08:08 Haverfordwest to Swansea (which would be coupled to the 158 doing the 07:56 Fishguard – Cardiff via SDL as far as Carmarthen and depart Carmarthen for Swansea at 09:00).

  13. Anthony

    Rhydgaled
    Thats what I mean’t with Portsmouth Hbr – Bristol – Cardiff – Fishgaurd service. Great western crews between Portsmouth & Cardiff and wales crew between Cardiff & Carmarthen/Fishguard.

    Also if you run a 02:00 Fishguard Hbr – Cardiff service (Arr 04:23) to connect with the London service at Cardiff rather than Swansea then perhaps you could run an early morning train betweeen Cardiff & Bristol TM which would be great for anyone who starts work before 6am say some train crew based at Bristol.

    Anyway I will wait and see how this trial service goes along perhaps a plan can be put together towards the end of the trial period around 2014-2015 when scotrail should release a number of class 158’s & class 170’s which could go to ATW & FGW etc. That said maybe some 170’s could go to Northern to release a number of their class 158’s to come to ATW

  14. Anthony

    According to the march issue of Todays railways March 12th has been proposed for the re-opening of Goodwick station.
    If this is true has any promotions been down to advertise it such as on this site yet?

    If it is confirmed I will book a day off to visit

    • Spad

      A Monday just over four weeks from now? We’re not convinced.
      Fishguard Trains does however know that local councillors have been asked to a photocall at Goodwick Station the following day, Tuesday March 13th. They have not been informed that the 13th is the opening day, and it’s unlikely the photocall would be the day AFTER the opening. So odds are against 12th, probably not the 13th either, perhaps a week or two after the 13th, to give County Hall time to assemble a press pack complete with pix of our councillors’ cheery smiles. Can anyone offer a more likely date?

  15. Anthony

    I did have my doubts about the 12th being the re-opening now if they could get the station opened then I say ok well done as the quicker its done the better

  16. Irishman

    There are many excellent ideas being put forward on this website but I genuinely feel that a few well-intentioned ideas would, if implemented, have negative impacts for both the through traveller to/from Ireland and Fishguard.

    As an Irish user of the route I continue to be very supportive of the additional trains and have no issue whatsoever with any boat train additionally serving Fishguard & Goodwick. Indeed most if not all should serve it. However in the case of the 01.50 perhaps on a request stop basis only.

    For instance, adding several extra stops to the likes of the 10.57 Cardiff-Fishguard is a good idea on the face of it but these extra stops take time. Would the train in fact make it to Fishguard Harbour in time for check-in? There would be a negligible contingency margin. Inbound passengers ex Rosslare would have to wait longer for their train at Fishguard Harbour. This could quite easily go very wrong for through travellers and next thing one knows is that the train is retimed with passengers having to leave London/Bristol etc… half an hour or an hour earlier to travel to Ireland. Then many long-distance travellers abandon the service with attendant negative implications for the overall service.

    Similarly deferring the 01.50 further and having it run to Cardiff instead results in an inferior service for passengers in that they have to wait around Cardiff Central for half an hour when currently they can immediately board a warm HST at Swansea. All (or virtually all) passengers on this train have arrived by ship from Rosslare. In fact if anything the 01.50 should be advanced to 01.35 or earlier (the 21.00 Stena ship from Rosslare can be alongside at Fishguard as early as 00.10hrs.).

    I realise in the current economic times there has to be compromise on all sides in the provision of rail services but diluting the boat trains significantly in terms of time and convenience to such an extent that they become unduly slow and user-unfriendly cannot be allowed to happen. The boat trains need to provide a fast service which competes favourably with road. Every minute counts and therefore using the Swansea District Line and Carmarthen Avoiding Line matters as do good connections to/from the HST.

    This is especially the case for the daytime services as these are understandably more popular than the nocturnal service with long-distance travellers.

    Some people may understandably think what do the needs of those users travelling through to/from Ireland matter – they don’t contribute anything to the local economy. Yes and no. Granted some do travel through and unfortunately don’t contribute a penny to the local economy. Some might make a purchase at the cafe at the harbour station. But some do and will break their journeys to stop awhile in Fishguard giving a meaningful contribution to the local economy. And while most of these users may have passed through Fishguard their journeys over the last few decades helped ensure that trains continued to Fishguard until the more enlightened present day introduction of train services catering for local needs.

    Despite the discontinuation of the through service to London and the deplorable disintegration on the Irish side at Rosslare (only improved to a modest extent last year) passengers have continued to use the rail sea route via Fishguard. Had this traffic dried up in recent years then the Fishguard line of 2012 may well be out of use and near impassable with overgrowth.

    The tide is finally turning for SailRail with train and shipping companies realising its potential and the welcome introduction of some train connections at Rosslare. Arriva Trains Wales have developed a whole section of their website dedicated to the product. Train companies now book passengers onto a particular sailing to avoid any potential turning away of customers at the port at times of peak travel.

    On a final note the Marina plans for Fishguard Harbour thankfully don’t seem to involve any interference with the railway. One document contains a plan of how the area of land allocated for possible future port development may look if such development occurs in the future. It shows a new berth quite close to the Harbour station so one presumes a fully-enclosed walkway would link it to the Harbour station (not a tin-tunnel on stilts like at some other ports!).

    Fishguard is lucky in retaining an under-cover interchange between ship and rail and it is important that future plans ensure this facility is retained. If the seasonal fast ferry can be reintroduced in future years and is aligned conveniently with existing trains an even faster service can be offered to Ireland. In fact in any future port development the berth beside the station should be retained for the fast craft.

    Enter the virtuous circle; what benefits the traveller to/from Ireland will also benefit the traveller to/from Fishguard.

    • Rhydgaled

      I wouldn’t add extra stops to the boat train except Carmarthen, Fishguard & Goodwick, maybe Wolfscastle (if you want the Fishguard line to serve Letterston), Port Talbot Parkway and Bridgend (the latter two only if suitable rolling stock is used (class 158, or possibly 175) which can do 90mph and hence keep the journey times down). In fact, with those calling points added to the boat train’s current few and a 90mph train, the journey time between Carmarthen and Cardiff could be accelterated to 1hr 22mins, only serving north Pembs would slow the service down. I agree we need to ensure the harbour station remains in place, and the ferry docking point close to it.

      One thing though, could the ferry times be ajusted slightly so we could have most of our trains arriving/leaving F&G at the same point of the hour? eg. departures from F&G to Carmarthen/Cardiff/Swansea at:
      07:56, 09:56, 11:56, 13:56, 15:56, 17:56, 19:56
      rather than: 07:56, 09:56, 11:56, 13:32, 15:56, 17:56, 19:56 (note this is a longer-term thought, hence the number of services, there would also be one earlier morning departure, but that would be aimed at connecting with the 07:30 Intercity service from Carmarthen so wouldn’t fit the clockface pattern.)

  17. Irishman

    I think Carmarthen and Fishguard & Goodwick would be ok as extra stops. Given it is in essence an international train the daytime service at least should be a 158 or 175.

    There is a window of time around which the boat trains must arrive/depart Fishguard Harbour. This is directly related to the scheduled time of the sailings and arrivals to/from Rosslare. I understand it is prescribed by agreement. For instance daytime trains apparently must depart within 1 hour 10 minutes of the scheduled arrival of the sailing from Rosslare. In the opposite direction it’s 1 hour 30 minutes. Night-time the window of time is apparently longer.

    My personal feeling is that it’ll be difficult to change sailing times though a ship can change much easier than a train! In fact the 21.15 ex Rosslare was advanced to 21.00 last Summer (and continues at 21.00). Don’t know why.
    I think the boat train may find it hard to fit the clockface pattern.

    Incidentally both the Stena Europe to Fishguard and Isle of Inishmore (to Pembroke Dock) set off from both sides at very similar times (e.g. 08.45 and 09.00 respectively ex Rosslare). This similarity continues for the other three crossings too.

    Hopefully there will be an opportunity for a later evening train ex Rosslare (to Wexford/Wicklow/Dublin) in the next timetable. The National Transport Authority here are interested in improving services on the line. From what I’ve heard that extra train would be circa 19.15hrs. ex Rosslare.

    As the ferry timetable stands the daytime boat train is probably timed just about right both ways though the night-time one requires a fairly long wait ex Rosslare. Even so if it was adjusted passengers would still have the same wait at Swansea and the HST is unlikely to be available for boarding nearly an hour ahead of departure.

    What does strike me though is that the daytime turnaround of the Stena Europe is tight i.e. arr. Fishguard 12.30 and sail 14.30. Having said that if it sailed from Rosslare earlier it will conflict with the Irish Ferries sailing to Pembroke (which reverses out), the Bus Éireann bus Waterford would have to be retimed to reach the port earlier.

    Don’t know if I’ve achieved much in this post – everything seems to be tied to everything else in a manner of speaking!

  18. Irishman

    Correction:
    Incidentally both the Stena Europe to Fishguard and Isle of Inishmore (to Pembroke Dock) set off from both sides at very similar times (e.g. 09.00 (Fishguard) and 0845 (Pembroke) respectively ex Rosslare). This similarity continues for the other three crossings too.

  19. Anthony

    I do think there is plenty of time for the boat trains to make an additional call at Goodwick station due to the amount of slack in the timetable for them however I do perhaps agree that the 01:50 from Fishgaurd to Swansea should call on request only.

    Hopefully in a few years we cna get a regular 2 hourly service to Fishguard however we have to make sure the current services work

  20. Swansea Jack

    It is important to realise that the boat trains serve a different market to the new local market trains, however stopping the daytime boat train at Goodwick would certainly be a good idea to reduce the otherwise long gap in local train services.

    I would avoid the addition of many extra stops into the 10:57 Cardiff to Fishguard or the return boat train otherwise the good connections at Cardiff from / into London services would be lost, although adding Goodwick and Carmarthen would seem sensible.

    The recent focus on RailSail on both sides of St George’s channel is to be welcomed – the real shame is that this new found enthusiasm couldn’t have helped to save services on the Waterford line, which ideally would have continued to / from Limerick with connections towards Cork and the Irish South west, which after all was the original purpose of that route.

    The value of the cross-channel passenger traffic should not be underestimated – without them the Fishguard line would have become a linear nature reserve 48 years ago, and once Ryanair etc start paying fuel duty then the existence of a rail- ship -rail option will once again be valued.

    The loss of the FastCat services is a real shame, I always felt that a rail link to them would have added value to both modes but the disjointed nature of public transport these days meant that opportunity was missed.

    • Rhydgaled

      Would you not support the addition of Bridgend and Port Talbot Parkway stops (provided the service is operated by a 175/158) then? A 90mph unit should be able to cut the Cardiff-Llanelli journey time to 1hr even with these two extra stops. The 22:47 off Port Talbot Parkway towards Carmarthen takes just 29 minutes to reach Llanelli, and there are a couple of Carmarthen-bound services (leaving CDF at 12:39 and 14:39) which are timetabled to reach Port Talbot Parkway in 31 minutes. The 10:57 to Fishguard (with a woefu lly inappropriate, 75mph, class 150) is given 1hr 4mins to reach Llanelli non-stop (all times from East Coast journey planner). At the very least a 90mph unit should manage the same 1hr 4min journey time with the Port Talbot and Bridgend stops.

      Without linespeed improvements, I wouldn’t want the boat train to call at anything more than Cardiff Central, Bridgend, Port Talbot Parkway, Llanelli, Carmarthen, Whitland and all open stations on the Fishguard branch (the last being because you would never justify a seperate local service from Carmarthen at that time to serve the Fishguard line).

  21. Irishman

    I think those extra stops (Bridgend and Port Talbot Parkway) would be ok as long as the overall journey time is not increased by more than five minutes. My main concern is that connections aren’t broken (both HST-ATW and ATW-ship and vice versa) and that any rail change doesn’t result in a lengthening of the journey time to/from Rosslare.

    Fully agree that it’s a pity there’s no longer a passenger service west of Rosslare. Whether anything will change I don’t know. There was talk of Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) being interested in putting a Parry People Mover on the line but nothing more seems to have come of that (info about it in newsletter no. 60 on the PPM website: http://www.parrypeoplemovers.com/latest_news.htm)

    The replacement bus (Bus Éireann route 370) is timed at 6.40am ex Rosslare ferry terminal (arr. Waterford 8.45am) and 5.30pm ex Waterford Bus Stn. arr. Ferryport 7.10pm. But it doesn’t serve Waterford railway station (though passes it). Whilst Waterford Plunkett railway station is located beside a busy dual carriageway and roundabout it is nonetheless possible to serve it. There are plans for buses to serve it but it’s far far too slow in coming to pass.

    At the moment there’s only three trains a day each way Mon-Sat from Waterford onwards to Limerick Junction. The outgoing CIÉ Chairman said in June 2011 ““lightly used” rail services were likely to be cut and fares would definitely be rising across all CIÉ services. He said two lines expected to be most closely scrutinised were Limerick Junction-Waterford and Limerick-Nenagh.”

    However the National Transport Authority (NTA) are interested in developing the service on the line. The publically available minutes of the NTA from October refer to the possibility of increased services on both the Rosslare-Dublin and Waterford-Limerick Junction lines. Plus the issue of a shuttle bus to/from Waterford railway station. South County Tipperary Co. Council are quite proactive too (they have produced promotional leaflets and posters in conjunction with Iarnród Éireann).

    Building on this if additional train services are provided between Waterford and Limerick Junction and if one of these each way is aligned with the Rosslare-Waterford and if the bus can actually serve the station in Waterford, the corridor is re-established in an useable sense (though granted not perfect).

    Really the Waterford-Limerick Junction trains need to run through to Limerick Colbert (Limerick City station) but there are several issues preventing this at present: the Limerick Juct to Limerick line is single (though has a loop) and Waterford trains need to cross the Dublin-Cork mainline on the flat to access Limerick Jct station; Cork and Dublin trains don’t serve Limerick Jct at exactly the same time etc…

    Incidentally if anyone here is planning a trip to Waterford a tip to save you several euro is to use the route 370 coach – it’s a bit slower than the Expressway route 40 coach but is much cheaper (this is because the 370 is a rail replacement and fares were set at the same level as the rail fares though increased slightly with the general fare rise last month). For instance the route 370 day return to Waterford is €11 compared to €24 on route 40.

    This is an interesting and enjoyable debate – am glad I decided to post.

  22. Swansea Jack

    Back to the station works – you might find the BBC Wales news this evening (Thursday 16th February2012) and Radio Wales tomorrow morning of interest. Station work progressing well.

    • Rhydgaled

      Rail-related news on BBC Wales tonight yes, but relating to a level-crossing incident on the Cambrian line, didn’t notice anything to do with Fishguard.

  23. Anthony

    I had an email today saying that the re-opening had been defered now until april.

    Also it seems DB are planning to errect some wind turboines on the site of the old rail depot at Margam.

  24. Anthony

    I did see the new piece on the BBW wales news at 13:30 today. Good luck now lets hope the locals use the new station although the extra trains do seem to be having a positive impact according to some locals.

  25. Swansea Jack

    During the filming at the station yesterday they recorded pieces for BBC Wales Today (the one that appeared at 13:30 today) and for BBC Cymru and a piece that was on Good Morning Wales at 08:00hrs this morning. Hopefully it will appear on Wales today this evening although that will depend upon how much news is out there today!

  26. Irishman

    Just an idea – would there be scope for a small portable cafe cum shop at Fishguard & Goodwick in the summer months. Nothing elaborate – essentially a portable shop on a trailer that would be brought to and fro daily. Would sell hot drinks, sandwiches and the like. Perhaps this idea is a non-runner at the moment but wanted to mention it in case it’s of help.

    Is there any plan for a map of the area to be provided near the station for the benefit of visitors?

  27. Rhydgaled

    Anyone know why the station opening has slipped to April (or even May as the BBC article, which was shown on this evening’s Wales today, suggested)?

    Anyway, Fishguard & Goodwick station is back on the map: http://www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk/RouteMap/ (The key explains the station is ‘expected to open Spring/Summer 2012’)

  28. Swansea Jack

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the opening co-incided with the timetable change in May. would save any potential re-timings (even though I feel they are unlikely) or need for ATW to re-issue timetables. It would also simplify the inclusion of (Fishguard &) Goodwick into national journey planners and would avoid some of the issues that happened at places like Cardiff Central when the new trains started.

    We’ve waited 48 years for this reopening to happen (well I have anyway), another month or so won’t make much difference. It’s great to see Fishguard and Goodwick appearing once more on the railway’s route map, so thanks for the link to that one Rhydgaled!

  29. Anthony

    Yes thanks for the link.I can perhaps understand why they have moved the re-opening back to May.

    I bet there may be some confusion with passengers traveling to the harbour suddently finding there is a new station in Fishguard.

    I do hope to be there for the 1st day and I hope all the hard work put in by many pays off.

  30. John Davies

    I guess the red dot inside the circle for the Fishguard & Goodwick station on the Arriva network map means that there will be a ticket machine at the new station? I went down to Goodwick last weekend and they were laying both electricity and telephone lines into the station.

  31. Swansea Jack

    John – the red dot inside the circle means that the station is due to open in Spring / Summer 2012. I would say that the electricity and telephone cables to the station will be to supply the Passenger Information system on the station which was in place yesterday. There would also be a need for electricity for the lighting on the platform without which trains would be unable to call at the station during the hours of darkness.

    It appears that passenger information systems will be provided at the platform (already installed) and at the bus stops on the main road (Station Hill) – there are some markings on the ground relating to them but they weren’t in place yesterday.

    I don’t know about a ticket machine, but I’d have expected Haverfordwest to get the first one in Pembrokeshire, and they don’t have a black dot in their circle on the ATW map yet!

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