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Conservation charity criticises cuts to Cambrian Coast rail services

13 May 2024 3 minute read
Tonfanau station on the Cambrian Coast line. Photo by John Lucas is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

A conservation charity says proposed cuts to Cambrian Coast rail services risk undermining attempts to make tourism more sustainable in the Eryri National Park.

Transport for Wales’ proposed changes involve removing four services every day, two in either direction, between Machynlleth and Pwllheli, which pass through the National Park.

A consultation on the changes is currently taking place which ends on Monday 13 May.

Cymdeithas Eryri Snowdonia Society, a member-based conservation charity which works to protect and enhance the Eryri National Park, has warned that the cuts to the Cambrian Coast railway timetable threaten to undermine attempts by the National Park Authority and the Welsh Government to make tourism in the area more environmentally sustainable.

Bus service

The charity has welcomed the expansion of the Sherpa bus service between Bangor and Betws-y-coed through Dyffryn Ogwen, made possible through a £1m grant from the Welsh Government. This means that there is now an hourly service in both directions between 8am and 6pm except for one hour at lunchtime.

Rory Francis, Director of Cymdeithas Eryri says: “It’s great that the Eryri National Park Authority and the Welsh Government are taking the initiative to make tourism in the area more sustainable by improving the Sherpa bus service. But the proposed cuts to the Cambrian Coast timetable risk undermining this.

“The Cambrian Coast line passes through over 35 miles of the National Park. It is reliable, affordable and incredibly scenic. It’s a gem of line.

“Over the past few years it’s seen huge investment, in the repairing the Barmouth bridge and the building a new bridge over the Dwyryd. It has huge potential to attract more visitors out of their cars, but these timetable cuts undermine all of this.”

‘Speak up’

The Society has also highlighted the importance of these railway services for local people, particularly the elderly and those without a car, and is encouraging people to take part in the consultation and “speak up for local services” and the importance of making tourism environmentally sustainable.

Last week Gwynedd councillors raised concerns over “unacceptable” planned cuts to the “immensely important” Welsh railway line.

One councillor claimed local people were under a “curfew” due to timetable cuts and that young people were being “denied a social life”.

When the cuts were announced Mabon ap Gwynfor, the MS for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, accused Transport for Wales of disenfranchising communities along the Cambrian Coast.

Raising the matter in the Senedd, Mr ap Gwynfor accused the rail operator of overseeing a catalogue of cuts to public transport across his constituency.

He said: “There will be four services less a day, with services extended in the summer for visitors, disenfranchising those people who live in those communities who are served by this line and who are dependent on it for their education, for employment, for shopping and other essentials.”


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
8 days ago

Rail Track spend £30 million on a bridge…come on Welsh Gov…

hdavies15
hdavies15
8 days ago

Just another example of the absence of joined up thinking. Bay regime doesn’t seem to have figured out that road and rail services i.e buses and trains, are just as important, if not more so, in rural Wales as they are in suburban Cardiff.

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