Fishguard and Goodwick is no longer Wales’ newest station. Welcome, Energlyn and Churchill Park!
Opened this week, the new station fits between Aber and Llanbradach on the Cardiff-Rhymney line. So now, while tiny Fishguard has two stations, Caerphilly has leapt to three – Caerphilly, Aber and Energlyn. Still, at least Fishguard has twice as many stations as Swansea.
Now, how about a few more trains?
Arriva’s winter timetable starts this week and runs until 17 May 2014. We’ve updated the times and destinations in our Departures widget, so it’s handy to check when you’re travelling from and to Fishguard and Goodwick. As ever, click on a departure time for more information. The yellow boxes are trains going east, the green are for arrivals from the east – or if you prefer, departures to the Harbour and Ireland. The next two trains are always highlighted white on black. In the last ten minutes, the white time turns red, so hurry up!
With the winter timetable comes Arriva’s Newsletter, celebrating ten years of service: “dramatic strides in improving punctuality and reliability”, “one of the top ‘right time’ performing operators in the UK”, customer satisfaction at a “record high of 88% today”. So three cheers for Arriva.
On the other hand, Wales is bottom of the UK league for value for public money invested in rail. A new study* by the Campaign for Better Transport published at the same time as Arriva’s Newletter, reveals that, compared to Scotland and the English regions, Wales is in a class of its own: out of eleven rail regions, Wales is worst for future plans, worst for station quality, second lowest for trips per head of population, and so on, building miserably to a picture of chronic under-performance. Yet at the same time, public funding per passenger kilometer is highest in Wales. Result – nowhere else in Britain spends so much (per passenger km) and yet performs as badly as Wales. We “face the greatest challenges” says the Campaign. Service is below average despite financial support above average. The Campaign urges Wales to identify best practice elsewhere in Great Britain, and implement it.
This is the equivalent of a PISA report for Welsh railways. We’re not only bottom of the UK class for basic learning, we’re also bottom for delivering a decent railway and getting value for our taxes.
WHAT’S TO BE DONE?
Fishguard Trains proposes four steps for best practice:
1 integrated services and timetables (rail and bus)
2 integrated ticketing – an all-Wales Oyster card
3 unified branding, marketing and promotion
4 full control and accountability by Welsh Government
* The Effectiveness of the Rail Network Across Great Britain. Campaign for Better Transport, November 2013.