A new station starts to appear at Fishguard & Goodwick. Though it’s still mainly groundworks, cabling and foundations, there’s one clear sign that a station is really on its way: the train indicator, standing prominently on the platform. A promise of things to come.
Which leads to many questions. Not just when will the new station open, but several others that have been discussed on Fishguard Trains, and around the twin towns lately.
So here’s a checklist of the queries. And we’ll be looking for answers to them during the coming weeks.
If you have more questions, or think you know the answers, we’d all like to know, so keep commenting.
Fine, so when will the new station open?
Speculation has drifted later as time passes. We started off thinking (hoping) March. Then councillors were invited to a photocall at the station site for March 13th, suggesting an April launch. Then Arriva published its new Network Map showing Fishguard & Goodwick Expected to open Spring/Summer 2012. The new national timetable runs from Monday May 14th, so is it too much to hope that the station will be operating from the start of nationally-published times? If so, that is less than three months ahead, and the spring/summer times need to be published pretty soon.
UPDATE February 24: This National Rail Enquiries page made us sit up. It reveals the station code for Fishguard & Goodwick is FGW, its post code is SA64 0DG , and interestingly it’s a CLOSED STATION. STATION DUE TO REOPEN IN MARCH 2012. Do we believe them? The station clock certainly looks too good to be true.
What will the new service pattern be?
The answer is not as simple as all the existing trains. Firstly, will all the ten extra services continue to the Harbour, or will some terminate and return from Fishguard & Goodwick? Second, will one or two of the boat trains perhaps only call on request at Fishguard & Goodwick?
Which buses will call at the station, and when?
The whole purpose of Fishguard & Goodwick Station is to be accessible on foot, by car and by bus. It’s a transport hub. Vital if we want a public transport network, and not just disconnected services. We know that buses operate on a mix of commercial and local government funding. But we also know that Welsh Government explicitly promotes integrated transport. So which buses will call? The 410 Town Service of course. What about the 412? Will some or all journeys be re-routed to meet trains? And the 413? And the coastal buses? Including services that currently terminate at Fishguard Square? Many questions there, but unless we see a real shift to joined-up transport provision, we are seriously missing out on a great opportunity. And making the buses connect with the trains is the most immediate way of doing that.
Will train information be displayed at the station bus stops?
We have dedicated bus stops on both sides of the road past the station. We hope to see bus indicator signs go up. How sensible if they also showed train times. And what a good way of advertising to every passing pedestrian and driver that trains are coming and going too.
What will they do with that brick shed?
Apart from repair it and close it off, that is. We’ve seen many suggestions on Fishguard Trains. No one is going to invest until the service becomes permanent, though eventually Pembrokeshire CC are obliged to provide a quality building to replace the demolished station – it’s in a Conservation Area. But what about now and for the next few years? What complementary uses would be welcomed by rail travellers?
Any ticket facilities?
Seems a hopeless case. Haverfordwest has the only ticket office in the county, and Carmarthen has the only ticket machine in the west. Perhaps we’ll say that again: Carmarthen Station has the only ticket machine in west Wales. Is that really the best we can do?
Station signs …
Presumably there will be a prominent sign at the station entrance. But what about pointers in the centre of Fishguard, and at main junctions? Who decides how many and where? The more, the merrier, we would have thought.
The station seems to have more than enough space. As the only station with a car park between Haverfordwest and Aberystwyth, this should be a major feature, attracting park and ride drivers from a wide area of west Wales. Just a few details to clear up: will it be free to rail travellers? Will there be CCTV? Lighting? Cycle stands?
That’s enough to be getting on with. Now to find some answers!