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TfW claims passengers will be unaffected by new train delays

19 Oct 2023 3 minute read
Image: Transport for Wales.

Emily Price

Transport for Wales (TfW) has claimed passengers will not be affected by delays to the introduction of new rolling stock, despite the manufacturer so far producing less than half of the trains it was contracted to build.

During FMQs this week, Mark Drakeford said 77 new CAF trains should be available in operation but only 34 of those have been delivered by the manufacturer.

TfW told Nation.Cymru that sanctions are being applied as a result of the contract not being fulfilled on time.

A TfW spokesperson said the rail operator cannot provide details of the sanctions due to it being “commercially confidential information”.

In the Senedd on Tuesday (October 17) Leader of Plaid Cymru, Rhun ap Iorwerth said passengers are “facing challenges” travelling by rail “day in, day out” because Wales doesn’t have the rolling stock it needs and “the stock we have isn’t rolling”.

He said: “Week after week, it’s cancelled trains, the wrong trains for cross-country journeys, multiple changes on straight-through services, standing room only, broken promises on the delivery of new trains.”

Mr Drakeford replied: “The Welsh Government doesn’t manufacture trains, and the manufacturer has only delivered 34 of the 77 trains that they were contracted to deliver by today.

“Now, there are reasons why that is the case, but the practical impact of that is inevitably felt by Transport for Wales when they are scheduling their services.”

Nation.Cymru asked TfW what will the implications of the late delivery of new trains be for passengers.

Legacy trains

TfW said: “None in terms of delivery of current services. Delay of the introduction of new trains on some services, but service will continue to be delivered utilising a mixture of new and legacy train fleets.”

Plaid Cymru transport spokesperson, Delyth Jewell said it’s “hard to see” how the late delivery of new rolling stock wouldn’t impact passengers.

TfW told Nation.Cymru the manufacturer’s current delivery plan forecasts delivery of the final the train in summer 2024.

The rail operator said that despite delays, it doest envisage “any issues” in having its new drivers fully trained to operate the new class 197 trains when they move into service.

Plaid Cymru spokesperson for transport, Delyth Jewell MS, said: “It’s hard to see how passengers won’t be affected by the delays in introducing new rolling stock.

“TfW says that there will be sanctions on the manufacturer for the delay in providing the new stock. We need to know what the sanctions are and how this will be used in order to lessen any disruption.

“Rail passengers have already faced rising prices for an insufficient service. TfW must prioritise improving customer satisfaction now in order to ease this transition period.”

A spokesperson for Transport for Wales said: “We’re working closely with the train manufacturers to ensure our brand-new fleet of trains are delivered and into service as quickly as possible following delays caused by the pandemic and other factors.

“Good progress is now being made on the supply, testing and introduction of our brand-new trains, with 45 trains now delivered.

“More than 100 new trains are due to arrive over the next 18 months and we’re currently taking delivery of a new train every 10-12 days. Our aim is to reduce delivery timescales to a new train every 7-10 days in the coming months.

“While our new trains are being delivered we are using some existing trains for longer than previously planned to provide as much capacity as possible on our network.”


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hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago

Yet another item to be added to the catalogue of failure. Drakeford can’t see it, won’t acknowledge it ! He’s either a liar or lost the plot.

Gerallt Williams
7 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

0Has he ever been aware of the plot.

Bob McIntyre
Bob McIntyre
7 months ago

New trains – or the lack of – is a red herring to disguise management or political incompetence or both. Essentially there are too few staff – drivers and guards, principally – on most of the network. This leads to cancellations and frustration for passengers, so they choose to get in the car. Hence numbers drop and TfW has to be bailed out at the expense of education. If TfW – a nationalised railway company – was properly supervised – by the Welsh Government that nominally own it – then it wouldn’t be in the mess it is in. (Ditto… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Bob McIntyre
Cymru17
Cymru17
7 months ago

TfW are not perfect but they had a really challenging and unloved company to turn around when they took over from the previous franchisees. Ancient trains, which they are resolving by replacing the current fleet, the issue is out of their hands with manufacturer delays. Historical staff contracts not working for the business of today (Sunday working for example leading to cancellations, delays etc) which take a lot of time and resource to rectify. On top of all that they had Covid to contend with. Like I said, not a perfect company, but give them a chance. Decades of incompetence… Read more »

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
7 months ago
Reply to  Cymru17

For those who are train buffs, there will be knowledge that a large fleet of HST trains is being slowly replaced by various other franchises. These units are being retired when their replacements arrive rather than when they seriously fail which means that a fair number of them will be in satisfactory running condition. Surely it should be possible for TFW to pull a few strings and get hold of a decent bunch of them. That would cover the shortages until the new kit arrives and for lines like Shrewsbury – Aberystwyth a three or four car HST would feel… Read more »

Owen
Owen
7 months ago

If the public are not affected by the delay, surely that suggests that the current stock meets our needs (which they do not). A classic case of looking through institutional eyes as opposed to the citizen’s eyes).

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