Welsh Government launches Fishguard rail review

train timetable with red question mark

Time for change?

Fishguard’s three-year experimental rail service is to be reviewed this month.  Replying to questions from Fishguard Trains, Welsh Government today confirmed that “arrangements for the review … have been approved and will start next week”.

The recent publication of Arriva’s West Wales May-December 2014 timetable, taking the three-year experimental service well into a fourth year – unchanged – triggered our questions to Welsh Government. Their reply today makes clear that a review will indeed be held, and that government will announce “any changes” this August – the final month of the trial.

In their announcement, Welsh Government makes clear that its review goes far wider than a simple matter of passenger numbers, to embrace both social and economic issues. Their reply in full reads:

Arrangements for the review of the experimental rail service have been approved and will start next week. This will involve a call for evidence by the Welsh Government, as well as on train and community based surveys throughout late May and June which will be supported by Pembrokeshire County Council, north Pembrokeshire passenger forum and local stakeholders who have been asked to carry out a local survey about the service.
 
As part of the review, consideration will be given to
 
  • The extent to which  the services have improved the lives of people living in Pembrokeshire through  improved access to rail and other transport networks
  • The benefits that the additional services have provided on the local economy
  • If access to enhanced rail services has encouraged less use of private motor vehicles
Once the review is complete the Welsh Government will issue a public notice in early August detailing any changes to the services.

 

We will of course be giving details of the review – and how to contribute – on this website.

Fishguard Trains welcomes the broad scope of the review. Anyone who has had any contact with the service in the past few years knows that the impact on our lives in north Pembrokeshire has been out of all proportion to the modest public investment in five extra trains a day. Past and present stories and comments on Fishguard Trains are part of the evidence of that impact.

But it is not enough for us simply to know that: Now is the time to tell government in Cardiff, to provide evidence that the benefits to our economy, our society and our environment have been real and measurable.

Fishguard Trains has both praised and criticised the trial service. The evidence we now provide to the review is not only a one-off chance to secure the future of the service, but a key moment to identify shortcomings, and obtain improvements for the future.

Let’s seize the opportunity with both hands.

3 Comments

Filed under News & weather

3 Responses to Welsh Government launches Fishguard rail review

  1. It’s about time. Even now, with the outcome of the review not due until early August it will almost certainly be too late to implement any changes the review recomends (whether they be increments, decrements or just slight tinkering with the same 6 trains per day (plus one at night)) until December at the earliest.

    I await the start of the review with interest. I also hope any comments on the strengths and shortcomings of the current service are published as it would be interesting to see which of the shortcomings are most widely critisied and which of the strengths are most appreciated. Two of the biggest shortcomings are not actually directly related to the trial service itself.

  2. Swansea Jack

    On-train surveys will start today on the 12:45 train from Whitland, and will cover the majority of the trains over the next 2 weeks or so, with some limited coverage of the overnight boat trains.

    The closing date for the on-line and paper surveys is Wednesday the 18th of June 2014.

    • Spad

      Thanks S Jack. See our full story published earlier today – Fishguard rail review: Minister wants our views

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>