Teaching Grandmother to Suck Eggs

Fishguard train not displayed at Clarbeston Road

ghost train

Despite our best efforts (Irishman, Blocking Back, Spad et al) Arriva is still failing to inform passengers how to reach Fishguard via Clarbeston Road. Here’s the dismal evidence:


The 20:30 will shortly leave platform 2 for Fishguard. But the departure is displayed on NEITHER train indicator board – not the one on platform 2, and not even the wrong one on platform 1.


Spad asks the conductor on the 18:04 from Cardiff to Milford if he will make any announcements about changing at Clarbeston for Fishguard? “Oh yes, I always do” he assures us. Sadly there are no announcements until the train finally pulls into Clarbeston Road. There have been none since the train left Cardiff either.


Another passenger from Cardiff, mistakenly gets off the train with his bike, expecting – wrongly – to change for Fishguard. Three hours later he cycles into Fishguard.

This is what Arriva should be doing:

1 When a train is scheduled to depart, a platform display of that service, time and destination is required – in every case.

2 All station platform indicators that show a Milford service that offers a change at Clarbeston Road for Fishguard should say so.

3 On-train indicators that display and announce forthcoming stations also to announce changing at Clarbeston for Fishguard.

4 Conductors to make announcements about changing at Clarbeston Road from Cardiff onwards, not only after Carmarthen, and certainly not only as the train arrives at Clarbeston.

5 All the endless warnings that Clarbeston Road is a request stop to be accompanied with information about changing for Fishguard.

Can you manage that, Arriva Trains Wales (Ten Years of Service / Deg Mlynedd o Wasanaeth)?


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7 Responses to Teaching Grandmother to Suck Eggs

  1. Blocking Back

    Well said. To that list I would also add automatic train announcments that often fail to mention request-only stops such as Clunderwen and Clarbeston Road.

    For example, every time a train leaves Whitland heading for Clunderwen, it states that the next stop is Haverfordwest! Consequently, two weeks ago I found a large family sitting on the platform in Clunderwen, who had got off the train in the mistaken belief that it was Haverfordwest.

  2. Spad, this story makes the information problem I’ve noticed (Fishguard and Goodwick being mis-displayed as ‘Fishguard Goodwick’ on destination displays) look acceptable!

    Blocking Back, I am guessing the train heading for Milford Haven is a class 175. I think the automated announcements on these that list calling points have always started with “we will be calling at the following prinicpal stations” and proceeds to list the calling points in order but ommitting request stops. Then if and only if there are any request stops between now and the next ‘prinical’ station it will say something like “Cluderwen and Clarbeston Road are request stops, passengers for these stations should inform the conductor”. Note that Johnston (another request stop) is not mentioned, because it comes after the next principal station (Haverfordwest) and won’t be announced until the train has left there. Rather confusing if you ask me.

    • Blocking Back

      Yes, it goes through the list periodically as you say, but it also does a stand-alone declaration of what the next stop will be, again ignoring request stops. So when it leaves Whitland it always declares the next stop to be Haverfordwest! It’s definitely a bug that needs fixing, as there are always baffled looks, comments among passengers, frantic attempts to find the Guard and those occasional lost souls I mentioned, left stranded on Clunderwen station.


        September 23rd 2014 – not a mention of the Fishguard connection all the way from Cardiff until 90seconds before reaching Clarbeston Road. A packed to the gunwales, substitute and very clean 150 on the 17.40 from Cardiff was totally deafening as the unit was on full throttle all the way (presumably trying to keep to time, or were the engines below par?); the combination of engine roar, transmission whine, clattering windows and rattling doors had some passengers with their hands over their ears. These 150s are totally unsuitable for long-distance, and probably would contravene noise regualtions for an industrial site. Curiously, a 175 was waiting at Clarbeston Road for the shuttle to Fishguard!

        • Very curious.

          In my experience, it is normally the class 158 on the Gloucester-Fishguard, evening Clarbeston shuttle and daytime boat train that is substituted by a 150. How did a 175 manage to get onto the shuttle vice the 158?

  3. Blocking Back

    The Gloucester to Fishguard service returns to Clarbeston Road to then form the 2005 service from Clarbeston Road to Fishguard. 9 times out of 10 it’s a 175.

    • Since when has the Gloucester to Fishguard been a 175 regularly? I was told it was booked for a 158, but when I’ve seen it (and/or the 20:05 Clarbeston Road to Fishguard, which as you say is worked by the same unit as the Gloucester-Fishguard) it is, as often as not, a 150.

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