In just thirteen days, Wales will have a new first: a reopened station on a rural railway line.
So far all the successful station openings have been in urban Wales – Ebbw Vale, Rhoose, Maesteg, Pyle. There has been nothing like the launch of a complete new service, and now a complete new station on a heritage site, all to serve a rural and coastal area, and one of the smallest towns in Wales.
Fishguard Trains has just come from a meeting with stakeholders where the talk could not have been more enthusiastic and confident. As you’d expect, all attention is on the reopened station. It will remove a huge barrier to use of the new service, and bring local and long-distance rail services to the heart of the twin towns, and an ideal access point for Pembrokeshire’s world-famous Coast Path.
So with thirteen days to go, here is a sneak preview of final work to prepare our new station.
The timber-clad building receives attention before being painted – in cream, we’re told. We’ll continue to debate whether the restored building does justice to its historic predecessor, but the fact is to have these buildings at all is a big asset – now we should put heads together to make it a valuable destination in its own right, as is done at other rural stations.
This is the side of the station buildings facing the car park.
What would you like to find inside in future?
Tea and buns?
Local craft stalls?
Railway heritage display?
Walkers’ gear for sale?
The time for ideas is now.
Along the platform stands the ‘bus shelter’.
At least this one doesn’t prevent you getting on the train, the way the new bus shelter on the opposite side of Station Hill blocks entrance to the bus. We hear that plans are in hand to move that shelter where it belongs.
This is one of the most welcome features of Fishguard and Goodwick: a station that is accessible for drivers, for Coast Path ramblers, for pedestrians from Goodwick and Fishguard, for bus users, and for disabled travellers.
And here’s what must be the most under-stated sign in Fishguard. If you’re heading to Fishguard Harbour, your real destination is going to be Wexford, Waterford, Dublin. If you’re heading via Clarbeston Road, you’ll be travelling to Swansea, Cardiff, Manchester, London.
So in thirteen days, just pick your destination, turn up, and travel!