REVEALED: the Fishguard & Goodwick timetable

platform, shelter and train indicator at Fishguard & Goodwick

ready for service

EXCLUSIVE

Fishguard Trains is pleased to publish the new weekday rail timetable from the rebuilt and reopened Fishguard & Goodwick station, running from May 14th 2012:

 

1:20  to Fishguard Harbour

1:53  to Swansea, change for Cardiff +

6:38  to Fishguard Harbour

6:56  to Clarbeston Road, change for Cardiff +

7:52  to Fishguard Harbour

8:07  to Cardiff +

9:41  to Fishguard Harbour

9:59  to Carmarthen, change for Cardiff +

13:17 to Fishguard Harbour

13:33 to Cardiff +

18:46 to Fishguard Harbour

19:03 to Clarbeston Road, change for Cardiff +

20:23 to Fishguard Harbour

20:53 to Carmarthen, change for Swansea

As ever, we’ll update, extend and discuss this information as more comes in. Many thanks to Swansea Jack and Rhydgaled for vigilance and alerts. Keep on commenting!

30 Comments

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30 Responses to REVEALED: the Fishguard & Goodwick timetable

  1. Irishman

    It seems a good timetable though the apparent absence of a Sunday service could be addressed by having the daytime boat train serve Fishguard & Goodwick in both directions. Ok, it will not allow local travel but it does allow someone home for the weekend/visiting the area to return home on the Sunday afternoon, albeit rather early in the afternoon. I think it is important the daytime boat train calls on a Sunday as it will allow the weekend break and student market to avail of the service.

  2. Swansea Jack

    I understand that the Sunday boat trains will also now call at Fishguard & Goodwick to allow for the weekend break and student market to use the new station. Just checked – it’s already on NRE which is rather fast – I only had confirmation earlier today, and was told NRE may take some time to update! A good connection into the 15:30 SuO Carmarthen – Paddington too – 19:47 arrival time into London! Well done ATW for such a rapid response!

  3. Anthony

    Good on ATW and good on them yesterday managing to roster and additional class 150 to work to Fishguard Harbour as I saw teh return working pass through Bridgend 6 late following the delayed Manchester service and it was heaving with all the seats taken and some people standing in the rear carriage.

    I have noticed ATW posters showing the sailrail tickets and nice to see them and the other rail companies doing so and taking the fight to the airlines.

    It makes me wonder however with ATW managing to find the extra units for boosting services in the summer whether next winter they could perhaps roster a class 153 to provide a afternoon service to/from Fishguard to plug the last gap and get the boat train to call at Carmarthen on the way to Fishguard

    • Rhydgaled

      Anthony – As I think I’ve shown you. ATW could have plugged the afternoon gap in Fishguard services using the unit that sits in Swansea until it works the 17:10 Swanline. Whether that will remain possible from May 14th I’ve no idea.

  4. Swansea Jack

    The boat train avoids Carmarthen as this is the only train that now uses the Carmarthen avoiding line – if it didn’t they’d either have to find another train to avoid Carmarthen or go through a lengthy closure procedure for passenger trains on that section of line – that is another of those often mentioned parliamentary trains really.

    As for plugging the gap, a good idea, but where would the funding for such an extra train come from?

    • Rhydgaled

      Is the Carmarthen avoider, given that it is so short, is pretty safe (given the frieght traffic needs it) and has no stations, actually covered by the rules that cause parliamentary trains?

      As for funding a plug for the gap, how much of the “up to £1.somthing million” is actually being used to provide Fishguard’s extra services. Given that many of the extra services are either operating only between FGH and Clarbeston Road or extentions of existing trains the additional costs would seem minimal. In a few years time though, hopefully the WAG will stop throwing money at Iaean air and put that £1.somthing million into improving rail service frequencies. Overnight stabling of a unit a Fishguard harbour might save a little bit of money, provided you don’t do cleaning there or install any other sort of staffing.

  5. Swansea Jack

    Yes the Carmarthen avoider is covered by that rule! The Newhaven marine branch is probably shorter and that is covered too.

    We have what we have over the train service to Fishguard. The main priority now is to get passengers onto these trains, especially from May 14th when Goodwick opens. The trial period must be seen as a success and in the longer term we can hope for improvements – look at how the Aberdare branch went from a 7am to 7pm service to gaining evening and Sunday trains, and now has 1/2 hourly trains. Our population will never justify that level of service but things can be improved over time, especially if services are well used.

    There are improvements that can be made – things like getting the Sunday boat trains to stop at Goodwick is a positive result from asking the correct question of the correct people. Trying to improve the second evening service would help too, but we have to be realistic too. Getting an extra train isn’t going to happen with the present funding arrangements, however if the subsidy level is reduced because trains are well loaded then possibly the money could stretch to extra services. I still think we should concentrate on walking before we try to run though…..

    • Rhydgaled

      I’d say Fishguard could justify a train every two hours (maybe with a couple of three hour gaps) , but almost certainly no more than that. The other two Pembrokeshire branches though might warrant hourly (given the larger population they serve), although the slow journey times (particularly from the Pembroke & Tenby branch) might kill too much of the demand.

      What would you define as ‘walking’ as opposed to ‘running’ then? Something smaller than asking for an extra train to fill the gap would be putting a 158 (or at least a pair of 153s) on the daytime boat train instead of a 150. Also one extra train each way between Cardiff and Carmarthen using the Swansea district line would not count towards Fishguard’s allocation, it would have to be seperatly funded, but could use the same 158 that did the boat train (there would need to be a swap though). The westbound service would leave Cardiff around 17:54, which would overtake the overcrowed 17:39. There would be quite a wait at Carmarthen for the 17:39 to catch up, but at least there’s a waiting room there. Better yet, the train itself could wait and run just behind the 17:39 ex Cardiff, running through to Fishguard and eliminating the change at Clarbeston Road. What is a step too far and what isn’t? The eastbound district line service could leave Goodwick around 07:56 and replace the 08:04 west of Carmarthen.

      Sadly I think all service proposals involving 158s (including the hourly service to Aberystywth which at one point was promised ‘by 2011′) are now dead in the water. This is because I’ve just read that after strengthening of some services from May 14th, the Cambrian Lines – Birmingham – Holyhead curciut will take 20 class 158 diagrams. The other 4 158s are probably all needed as spares, so that could leave ATW struggling to provide trains for the Maesteg – Cheltenham, Holyhead – Cardiff, Manchester – Milford (on Saturdays) and Crewe – Chester services, which currently use 158s I think, too. With all the 158s used up, it grates that ATW stick 150s where they are not appropriate while leaving most of their mark 2 coaches (the only stock they actually own) in store, with the prospect of the 6 they do use going the same way later this year.

  6. Swansea Jack

    I agree over the lack of sufficient stock being available. I read a piece earlier by Tim Bell who highlights customer growth being strong on the North Wales and South Wales to Manchester route while continuing discussions with the Welsh Government and DafT over capacity challenges and looking for solutions ‘outside our finite fleet’ are ongoing. Getting those mark IIs hitched to a DRS class 37/4 is sounding a better idea by the day…..

    The Cambrian hourly service seems to have slipped back to around 2014 – reliability issues over ERTMS (the new signalling system) being the reason given, although some strengthening to 6 car sets on the Cambrian Main line will happen from May.

    The redoubling project at Gowerton and for part of the Wrexham – Chester route will provide network capacity improvements that will also be requiring additional stock from around 2014, while a half-hourly Maesteg service and possible improvements for Ebbw Vale will also require additional stock, so I can imagine there are some heavy discussions ongoing over stock at present.

    If the fuel price continues its march towards£1-50 a litre and beyond (I saw Derv at £154.9 a litre at Pont Abraham services last weekend), then the upward pressure from passenger numbers is likely to continue.

    22 passengers on the 09:56 from the Harbour this morning, so 153303 had a reasonable number on board.

    • Rhydgaled

      22 on the 09:56, that’s good to hear. I don’t see much pontential for additional services over the redoubled lines for a while (except better timings for the north – south express services with mark 3 DVTs), mainly due to the lack of stock. The improved reliabilty both redoublings will bring though will be helpful, and perhaps the timetable can be more clockface and some services speeded up slightly too. I also think that a Cardiff – Carmarthen Swansea district line service should be a higher priority than anything additional over the Swansea – Llanelli section.

      Unless you take away direct Birmingham services from either north Wales or the Cambrian, a Cambrian hourly is impossible now because of the strengthening from 2-car to 4-car and 4-car to 6-car on the Cambrian – Birmingham – Holyhead curciut. That’s because the UK’s entire fleet of traction that can use the Cambrian numbers just 27 (24 class 158 and three or four locomotives). Even if ATW get extra stock, they would have to find a way of releasing the ETRMS 158s from the Holyhead – Birminghams.

      The first opertunity for additional 158s (or perhaps 156s) looks like the electrification of Edinbrough – Glasgow in 2015-2016. Hopefully 2018 will see the ValleyLines going over to EMUs to provide more 150s for Swansea – Pembrokeshire, Swansea ValleyLines and improvments to north Wales services (eg. Conwy Valley Line). In the meantime, get some sort of multiple working arangment together with the mark 2s and stick a loco on each end or resurect DBSOs.

  7. Swansea Jack

    Just received confirmation that all Fishguard Harbour services will now call at Fishguard And Goodwick station – which opens on May 14th by the way!

    Rhydgaled – the only option for running an hourly Aberystwyth – Salop, especially during the peaks will be to effectively use the strengthening unit that would be used to make some trains load 6 instead of 4. That is what I’d expect to happen. Putting them as strengthening units on the Cambrian ties them into the Cambrian services from May 2012, then when ERTMS is deemed to be suitably reliable the’ll just separate the trains out. I wouldn’t expect the Cambrian to become hourly all day, but certainly to make it hourly in the morning and evening peaks.

    As far as the Swansea Districts – with the infrastructure enhancements at Gowerton progressing I would suggest that is because they see a need to enhance Swansea – Llanelli services – if the plan was to improve Swansea District services then there would be little need to redouble through Gowerton. The plan is to create a major park and ride at Gowerton – it is expected that most / all trains would stop there in future.

    I too can see the stock issue becoming very difficult by 2014 and it not easing until 2016/7 when electrification schemes start releasing DMUs. The first wiring schemes in the North West will probably only release DMUs to enhance other Northern services which desperately need capacity increases anyway. I think the first schemes that may release DMUs that could find a use in Wales will be the Scottish ones on the Glasgow Queen Street / Edinburgh / Dunblane / Alloa services.

    • Rhydgaled

      The thing with the Cambrian is quite a bit of the strengthening is on the Holyhead – Birmingham route, which eats up lots of ETRMS units. From what I’ve read I think there’s only one 6-car set booked planned on the Cambrian.

      Yes, another key benifit of the Cockett – Dyffryn redoubling is that more trains (all of them, except (I hope) FGW’s London trains) can call at Gowerton. SWWITCH also want an increased frequency service, but given there is a worthwhile frequency over the route already my personal opinion is getting a regular/semi-regular express service over the Swansea district line service up and running is much more important. When that is in place, then (come 2018, when units are released from the valleys) frequency between Swansea and Llanelli can be increased, with some trains running to Carmarthen/Pembrokeshire and others to Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen (I also wonder if there would be demand for a Swansea – Llanelli – Morriston Parkway – Swansea Docks service).

  8. Anthony

    Easy idea would be for the WG to get ATW’s MK2 rakes cleaned up and into passenger services if not with ATW perhaps with FGW to release some of their DMU’s be used by ATW.

    Ideally there should be more loco hauled trains in use and DRS were supposed to be talking to the DFT about taking over operation of all services along the Cumbrian coast which if they use their loco hauled sets that should releasea few more DMU’s fornorthern to use elsewhere so nothing to stop ATW doing the same except perhaps money.

    Pity the WG cant just buy out the franchise and perhaps re let the franchise with a longer contract to encourage the operators to invest in new rolling stock.

    That said the idea of ATW using class 101’s on the heart of wales line would have been great to free up up to 3 dmu’s to provide much needed extra capacity.

  9. Irishman

    The new PDF timetable book for West Wales is now available on the ATW website. I guess the printed books are/will soon be available too.

    http://arrivatrainswales.co.uk/WorkArea/linkit.aspx?LinkIdentifier=id&ItemID=3430&libID=3859

  10. Irishman

    Good to see that the Sunday trains are stopping at Fishguard & Goodwick.

  11. Swansea Jack

    Anthony – let’s just say your first paragraph sounds like an excellent idea! DRS are presently refurbishing some ideal locomotives to pull such stock too.

    Irishman – thanks for the link – I didn’t see the new timetables up this morning so well done!

  12. Anthony

    I have had a look at the new ATW timetable the omnly problem is the 07:09 Pembroke Dock – Cardiff service. over 10 minutes to get from Port Talbot to Pyle maybe they should have timed it to leave Swansea about 4 minutes laters to get ride of some slack and add a stop at Llansamlet.

    I like the fact that Pyle can get up to 3 trains per hour on a saturday to Cardiff at certain times of the day – certainly not complaining

  13. Swansea Jack

    Anthony in a similar vein I am similarly not complaining that (Fishguard &) Goodwick will get 7 trains each way Mondays-Saturdays and 2 each way on Sundays!

    I feel that Christmas will come early this year – on May 14th to be precise!

  14. Anthony

    Lets hope passengers further increase now that we have teh new station closer to teh town.

    I think one bad problem is that some passengers may be put off changing at Claberston road and the daytime boat time should ideally call at Carmarthen station even if it means the Carmarthen avoiding line looses a passenger service. That said you could always build a station @ Carmarthen jct. Ideally at once we get closer to the end of the trial period a review should be taken with ideas and suggestions from passengers and perhaps ATW may be able to removed the Claberston road shuttle and run more through trains at least to Carmarthen.

    I have notieced from teh new timetable as weell that the 14:35 from Gloucester sits in Cardiff Central for over 15 minutes – thats a waste and the train could easily depart Gloucester 12 minutes later at 14:48 and still arrive into Cardiff at 16:00 before departing for west wales at 16:04 arriving into Swansea at 16:59. The timings don’t fill me with hope as there slack means that it is likely thet a class 150/153 will be used especially with ATW going to need all the 158’s they have for the Cambrian etc. Thta said maybe the WG should tell arriva to use thir 2nd loco hauled set and uuse teh 2 otehr 67’s to release that class 175 from WAG2 or for that matter scrap the current WAG2 and replace it iwth an express running in teh reverse direction with the stock being used to boost capacity during the daytime.

    The same with the WAG1 stock especially if they can get DVT operation quickly meaning that it could work the daytime boat train in high summer realsing the class 150 for boosting capacity elsewhere.

    I do suppose ATW may get a bit of relief on summer saturdays with some Pembroke dock services being worked by FGW hst’s os it may release 1 unit

  15. Irishman

    Thanks Swansea Jack – no problem.
    That’s an interesting point Anthony about an afternoon train from Gloucester having excessive dwell time at Cardiff Central. The 15 plus minutes a day quickly mounts up to an hour!
    The 03.57 Swansea – Paddington HST has 12 minutes dwell time at Cardiff but a more normal 3 minutes on Saturdays. In this case it can only be assumed this is due to pathing issues closer to London.
    There’s a lot to be said for through services rather than having to change.

  16. Rhydgaled

    I was at Carmarthen earlier and saw a class 150 terminate then form a Pembroke Dock service. I’m pretty sure this arrival was the 09:53 from Fishguard, about 24 got disembarked. Loadings seem to be good on that service.

    • Rhydgaled

      What a difference a week makes… Myself and my grandmother brought the numbers departing Fishguard Harbour on today’s 09:53 up to five. I think another three boarded at Whitland, so making eight passengers on board when the terminous at Carmarthen was reached. Still, five out of the harbour is better than nothing. What’s more, ATW seem to have predicted this difference, it was a class 150 (one of ATW’s many classes of 2-car unit, a suburban type, for those who don’t know the classes) last week when it was busy, and this week it was a class 153 (single coach).

      At Ferryside, I saw that the daytime boat train was a Pacer (2-car train made from bus components on something similar to a frieght-wagon underframe), probably even worse than the normal woefully inappropriate class 150.

  17. Anthony

    Yes that would have been the 09:56 from Fishguard Harbour.

    Loadings do seem OK ish however lets hope for a big increase once Goodwick station is opened I must admit it would be great if passenger numbers shot up beyond what the WG was expecting like the Ebbw Vale branch.

    That would make it easier to push for better services at the end of the trial

    • Rhydgaled

      Do we know what WAG was expecting? Are current numbers above or below the target? Either way, I doubt it is much different from the target, not miles different like Ebbw Vale.

  18. DBJ

    Just updated the UK Train Times app on my iPhone, look at what one of the improvements are!

    http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/uk-train-times/id306687757?mt=8

  19. Nobby

    It must be remembered that new services (anywhere) are (in many academics’ opinion) incorrectly costed. The height of absurdity, for example, was reached in the 1970s when a branch service which used (for part of its journey) a main-line had the entire (infrastructure) cost of the main-line section “put onto” to the branch service. Parliament has protested that we do not know the reasoning behind any railway costs (either infrastructure or subsidy); it is one of the disgraces of today’s railway. Anyway, let us imagine that the current total usage of Fishguard Harbour and the new Fishguard station increases to (say) 60 ,000 a year (that is footfall = up and down). The average rail fare (according to “Rail Trends”) is around £4.50; so that is 30,000 (extra) x £4.50 = £135,000 extra revenue. But Fishguard stations do not really provide a service at the low end (£4.50) of the average as likely destinations are much further afield – and consequently more expensive. So if one estimates an average fare (adult and child) of say £8 (and that is a conservative estimate), then at 30,000 extra passengers that would bring in £240,000 which did not exist for the train companies previously. It is against these figures that the extra subsidy should be judged. It is not the Rail Companies cannot ever justify the subsidy amount, it is first and foremost that they do not give the figures!
    With my transport statisticians and geographer’s hat, I estimate that in two year’s time the figure for the combined Fishguard stations will be some 65,000 at very least – but from experience it will take continue efforts from the splendid Fishguard’s Trains people to push the services. The maximum credible usage I see possible from the catchment area,statistics, rail “take-up” in similar rural areas, is around 125,000. What does not help matters is that there is no real potential commuter business on this line. If there were then the catchment area would of course generate many thousands more journeys. “Nobby”
    BA, Bsc.,Phd Qualifications with knobs on (oh yes)

    • Rhydgaled

      What would provide commuter business? Obviously the 08:04 from Fishguard Harbour arrives into Carmarthen too late to be of use to commuters (08:57).

      Fishguard & Goodwick to Carmarthen will be about 45 minutes when the station opens. A 07:55 Fishguard & Goodwick to Carmarthen, replacing the 08:04 from the harbour, will therefore arrive at about 08:40. Would that provide for commuters?

  20. Swansea Jack

    Nobby – I agree with you over railway costings. There have been numerous examples over the years – the situation over Bangor to Caernafon is one well worth studying in depth if you ever have the time.

    I agree that continual advertising of the new train services is critical – a major reason for pushing for the reopening of Goodwick station was its visibility to passing potential customers, most of whom wouldn’t notice the railway line or even the occasional train passing on hte way to the Harbour.

    There is of course a commuter option from Fishguard, namely to Carmarthen. In fact I have already met a young lady who travels to college in Carmarthen, who was annoyed that her course will be almost over by the time Goodwick reopens, which would reduce the walk between the station and her car parked on the Parrog. I also met someone who worked in a shop in Carmarthen and travelled by train each day. With the state of the shops in Fishguard getting employment in Carmarthen is at least an option now!

  21. Swansea Jack

    Rhydgaled. I agree over the 08:04. My wife occasionally works in Carmarthen and we agreed that the 08:04 would be very useful if it left the Harbour 10 to 15 minutes earlier, and arrived at Carmarthen say at 08:45, giving time to reach the office before 09:00. I’ll feed that on to ATW for the next timetable consultation.

  22. Rhydgaled

    Would an 08:45 arrival in Carmarthen station be early enough to reach all important parts of Carmarthen in time for work/college, or do we have to go earlier?

    Another idea I had was replacing the 06:53 service from the harbour to Clarbeston Road with an earlier train to Carmarthen to meet the Intercity service from Carmarthen to Paddington. I have just uploaded my full proposed timetable, achiveable with just one additional unit (a class 158, obtained through using a loco-hauled set to release the class 175 from the 2nd WAG express), on my testing webspace: http://rhydtest.web44.net/pdfs/Rhydgaled%20Wales%20Timetable%20Plans%20-%20Timetable3a.pdf. This shows my replacment for the 06:53, and an additional Haverfordwest to Carmarthen service to boot (though doing this makes arrival of the 07:55 in Carmarthen a little too late still).

    This shows, among other things, that I was lied to last summer when I was told there wasn’t enough rolling stock to operate an afternoon service to/from Fishguard without losing the 15:14 Cardiff – Fishguard. The service that plugs the 5hr gap in my timetable is designed to make use of a unit that I’m told is sat idle in Swansea at that time. Fair enough the funding might not have stretched to providing that 6th extra Fishguard service, but it wasn’t the physical impossibility they made out.

    All a moot point now anyway, I’d be supprised if the new timetable (starting May 14th) still has an idle unit and far from gaining a 158 I wouldn’t be supprised if Pembrokeshire losses the only one it currently has (one Milford – Manchester on Saturdays) to a class 150.

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