Happy Birthday Fishguard Trains!

birthday cake with lit candles, from Wikipedia

what a difference a year makes

One year old, and going strong. Fishguard Trains launched in April 2011, just days after Ieuan Wyn Jones’ astonishing volte face, only months after he dismissed the case for a proper rail service to Fishguard as “premature”. It could restore your faith in democracy to see how an election focusses politicians’ minds.

Once the media got over its surprise at the Minister’s U-turn, it ran the comedy tale of a rail service with no station. Fishguard, it seemed, was too far west for anything to work properly here.

But now, a year on, how things have changed. The trains are running (even National Rail Enquiries has finally noticed Fishguard and Goodwick), and clearly we use the services in growing numbers. You are as likely to bump into your neighbours on the train as in the Town Hall – and all without the benefit of a new station – yet. That is the second astonishing development in the past year: a rebuilt station, restored in style, with facilities for drivers, cyclists, disabled travellers and bus users. It will take a brave Minister in Cardiff Bay in two years time to pull the plug on all this.

Fishguard Trains has criticised the mistakes, shortcomings and missed opportunities. But we also praise the way stakeholders have grasped this opportunity, maybe not at the speed of Workington North, but faster than anyone here dared believe. We’re well impressed.

Meanwhile, Fishguard Trains has delivered what we set out to do: “We’ll support use of the new service, report its news, good and bad, give everyone a voice in its development” – That’s what we wrote on day one. Since then the stats show we’ve published 85 posts, you’ve contributed 463 comments, and the site has received 56,000 hits.

And now, on to year two – and this time, with a new station for all those trains. See you on board.

4 Comments

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4 Responses to Happy Birthday Fishguard Trains!

  1. Anthony

    How 1 year has passed already since we had the shock annoucement which too be honest I dont think a lot of people saw coming.

    Anyway lets look forward to Fishguard & Goodwick station open and getting more people to use the extra fishguard trains.

    Perhaps then next year when we have 1 year left of the trial we cnma start coming up with idea’s and proposals for further improvements to Fishguard’s train service and pushing for the WG to continue funding the train until 2018 where it will then be funded as part of the new franchise which lets hope will be 15 years or longer if it isnt brought in house to help promote investment

  2. Swansea Jack

    The present ATW franchise was that long!

    Longer franchises only work if they are set up to promote investment like the Chiltern one. Remember the ATW one was set up to be a non-growth one. I think WAG and ATW have increased capacity etc quite well considering, but remember if we want a Chiltern style franchise someone must pay the extra costs involved. Now lets all guess whether DafT will be willing to spend more than the absolute minimum on a franchise that will carry none of DafT’s civil servants home from work each day!

    Just remember DafT are willing to sacrifice the economic well-being of Swansea and all of West Wales for a generation to save themselves the £62 million it would cost to electrify between Cardiff and Swansea!!

  3. Rhydgaled

    Swansea Jack – DaFT are not just intending to sacrifice the economic well-being of Swansea and all of West Wales, they are intending to dent the position of Intercity rail as an enviromentally friendly option. Voyager’s fuel ecconomy is so bad that I expect they have to take alot of cars off the road to be saving emmissions, and a high-performance diesel IC train like the IEP will be no different. Killing off the requirment for a large order of new Intercity DMUs (albeit ones that can use OHLE power where available) is, in my opinion, the most important reason to electrify to Swansea.

    Well done for Fishguard Trains, long may your work towards improvements to the railways of south and west Wales continues.

    As for Fishguard & Goodwick station, I agree the rebuilt station is a massive improvment for drivers, and for walkers and cyclists from the imediate area. However, for the station to have facilities for bus users, we either need a waiting room or connecting bus services. My opinion is the former would be easier to acheive, but improvements to the second (particularly in the case of the Poppit Rocket) are possible in some cases and should be put in place. For example, I wonder whether the (very small) Poppit Rocket bus could provide a late-night trip from Newport to Cardigan via Eglwsuwrw, Moylegrove and St. Dogmeals, connecting with a 412 that has traveled via Goodwick to connect with the 20:30 arrival and terminates at Newport.

  4. Irishman

    Well done on making this website such an useful resource and forum for informed discussion.

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