Dear Stephen …

Stephen Crabb, Wales Secretary

on the right track?

Dear Stephen Crabb

Fishguard Trains congratulates you on your appointment as Secretary of State for Wales. Our website is non-partisan, but we are delighted to have a Pembrokeshire politician heading the Wales Office and speaking for Wales in cabinet.

You tenure will coincide with some momentous events, including the impact on Wales of the outcome of the Scottish independence vote and of course the general election. We take this opportunity to remind you of another forthcoming decision that will be equally momentous for a small part of your patch – north Pembrokeshire.
This summer Welsh Government will decide the future of the enhanced rail service which Fishguard has enjoyed for the past three years. This too has been a non-partisan initiative, announced by a Plaid Cymru minister, launched by his Labour successor, and used by a growing number of residents and visitors, to the great economic and social benefit of our community. Already, Fishguard generates twice as many rail journeys per head of population as Pembroke Dock. The new car park at Fishguard and Goodwick Station is regularly full to overflowing.
Surely it is unthinkable for Welsh Government to abandon such a successful innovation. We look forward to good news soon. But now is the time to correct the shortcomings in the trial service, putting it in good order for the future. The absence of afternoon and Sunday services are just the most pressing of several issues.
On your appointment you said “this government is ambitious for Wales, working to ensure Wales is at the front of the economic recovery”. Fishguard has demonstrated it is ready to take advantage of better public transport to strengthen and diversify our local  economy, and we now look forward to you supporting Welsh Government to secure this service for the long term.
Best wishes
Fishguard Trains


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3 Responses to Dear Stephen …

  1. Taking a slightly wider view, and an issue for the Westminster government rather than the one in Cardiff Bay (who ultimately is/was responsible for the enhanced Fishguard service), I hope the capacity of the London – Cardiff/Swansea service is maintained.

    While the Westminster governement’s current plan provides an increase in capacity (to 9-car trains) on some services that will be no comfort to passengers on the 5-car trains with just 315 seats (at least 160 fewer than today’s IC125 trains) which will work some London to south Wales services if the current plan goes ahead.

  2. Swansea Jack

    The Great Western franchise consultation was last month, and be assured that the maintenance of half-hourly peak time morning services from Swansea, maintenance of at the very least the existing capacity on through Swansea to Paddinngton trains, Summer Saturday Pembroke Dock through trains and the restoration of the former through London train which headed west from Cardiff at around 17:30 were all noted, as was the need for a later Swansea to Paddington service on weekdays.

    Stephen Crabb’s new position is indeed a positive for Pembrokeshire, and while the additional trains were Welsh Government not Westminster inspired, there remains the Westminster input into the post 2018 Wales and Borders franchise – a not for growth franchise next time will certainly not be acceptable, it shouldn’t have been last time either….

    • Two of the points I made to the GW franchise consultation were:

      First Great Western provides the principal service between Newport (south Wales) and Swansea, with trains of 8 carriages compared to just 2 or 3 carriages on most Arriva Trains Wales services. Any reduction in train length and/or train frequency would not be welcomed.


      The FirstGW Pembroke Dock service is very important as the Wales & Borders franchise would not be able to provide sufficient capacity if the GW service was withdrawn.

      However, I have responded to other franchise consultations in the past and don’t hold out much hope of being listened too. The entire Great Western IEP fleet is currently planned to include just 18 9-car diagrams. They may be able to claim the same number of seats over 24hrs, but there is no way every south Wales service will avoid a reduction to 5-car units unless a large proportion of PAD-Bristol services are so shorterned instead or the order is varied to ensure some of the bi-modes are 8 or 9 coaches.
      You make a good point that Westminster has input into the Wales and Borders franchise, but will they hand full responsiblity for the post 2018 services to WAG? Either way, we know the highest demand in our area is for travel to Cardiff, so I believe it is important the new franchise retains rights for an hourly S.W. Wales service into Cardiff (though not via Swansea, and perhaps not all those paths will need to be used at the start of the new franchise).

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