TfW performs U-turn on Merthyr line re-opening due to safety concerns
Transport for Wales (TfW) was forced to perform a U-turn on plans to re-open the Merthyr Tydfil line at the weekend following major engineering works.
The decision came less than 24 hours after it announced trains would start running again and was made due to concerns over an unstable embankment.
On Friday afternoon, TfW announced the line between Abercynon and Merthyr Tydfil would reopen on Saturday (June 10) following weeks of work on the track to build the new South Wales Metro.
However, on Saturday morning TfW announced the line between Abercynon and Merthyr Tydfil would remain closed and not reopen until Friday June 16 in order to allow time to inspect a railway embankment in Pentrebach which had become unstable.
The U-turn caused confusion for commuters with reports that some trains still showed as “expected” on departure boards even though the line had not re-opened.
One rail user said: “This information would have been really helpful to have last night as it has caused absolute chaos for us today.
“The service was shocking and the lack of communication made things even worse as none of it was online. The 1.10pm from Merthyr was still showing as expected.”
Bus replacement services have been provided by TfW whilst safety work is carried out – a service that has received criticism in recent weeks following reports that buses fail to turn up on time, are too big to fit under some bridges or are too small to carry more than 8 passengers.
Dafydd Price from Merthyr Vale said: “It’s been weeks of no trains now and TfW keep delaying re-opening the Merthyr line. The bus replacement service is terrible and people in Merthyr have really struggled with it.
“I waited for a bus put on by TfW last week and the bus passed me by on the wrong road some distance from the designated stop so I missed it and was late for work.”
A spokesperson for Transport for Wales said: “Following major work on the Merthyr Tydfil line, we had planned to reopen the line between Abercynon and Merthyr Tydfil on Saturday 10 June.
“We have encountered an issue with a railway embankment which we must get engineers to investigate and carry out necessary works to make safe before reopening the line to passenger services. As a result, the line will now reopen on Friday morning (June 16).
“We’d like to thank our customers for their continued patience and ask them to continue to check before they travel and to allow extra time for their journeys. Bus replacement services will continue to be in operation to help get our customers to and from their destinations.”
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