Down the line in April

Fishguard Trains’ irregular diary of internet news and blogs, on and off the rails

RAILNEWS.co.uk April 15 reports Carmarthen Councillors are to protest directly to Secretary of State Philip Hammond, who declined to electrify west of Cardiff. The council’s deputy leader Kevin Madge is quoted: “The time has come where councils and the people of West Wales have got to highlight these issues to Government. Infrastructure issues are important if West Wales is to have a future, and investment is needed. West Wales should not be left behind.”

Going Underground’s Blog admires royal wedding memorabilia that should appeal to rail enthusiasts: a model Royal Wedding Commemorative Coal Hopper Wagon, “a unique addition to your collection”.

¶ The same blog site has also tracked down a tube station in Bournemouth. Should Spad tell them about Trecwn?

RAILNEWS.co.uk April 13 covers Network Rail’s £200 million plan to increase rail capacity in south Wales. More trains will be able to run through Cardiff, where passenger and freight demand are both increasing . That puts the extra £1.4 million p.a. for Fishguard’s new service into some kind of context.

locomotive of WSMR train

Transport of dismay

¶ There’s an intriguing glimpse into the strange world of government rail franchising on the website of the UK Department of Transport.

Follow their links to Open Consultations (up to May 5th) or Closed Consultations thereafter. Then click on “Notice of Intention to Impose a penalty” etc on Chiltern Railways. You’ll see the government plans to fine Chiltern half a million pounds for making life easier for struggling Wrexham Shropshire and Marylebone, before the open access operator collapsed earlier this year. WSM and Chiltern are owned by the same company, rail multinational Deutsche Bahn (which also owns Arriva Trains Wales).

The Department of Transport states: “By integrating the timetable with WSMR, Chiltern Railways was, in effect, subcontracting a number of PSR [passenger service requirement] services to an open access operator, something which it is prevented from doing under the Franchise Agreement … By favouring the open access  operation in this way, the owning group would lose nothing but the Department would potentially lose value in the franchise when it was relet … this has now been rectified.”

The Wrexham, Shropshire and Marylebone Railway stopped running on January 28th this year, but the Department of Transport is protecting its value in the Chiltern franchise. Fascinating.

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