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TfW performs U-turn on Merthyr line re-opening due to safety concerns

12 Jun 2023 3 minute read
The damaged embankment near Pentrebach Railway Station in Merthyr Tydfil – Images: TfW

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.

TfW announced the Merthyr line would re-open on Friday afternoon, then announced it would remain closed on Saturday morning

“Chaos”

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.”

Engineers

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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Bob McIntyre
Bob McIntyre
8 months ago

“And today [12/6/20203] is ‘Rail Day’, launched by Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters who, along with representatives from the Campaign for Better Transport, saw and heard about the railway revolution currently taking place in the Principality.” Taken from a press release by TfW. [And no, it isn’t April 1st!] It just shows what a bunch of clueless idiots we have in charge of our nationalised transport system. If it ain’t in Cardiff, it ain’t important, and so the rest of us have to put up with elderly rolling stock, frequent cancellations and trains terminated short of their destination… Read more »

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
8 months ago
Reply to  Bob McIntyre

Whilst it does look as if you are right in your assessment, one can feel for TfW as somebody in their Team was not checking for unexpected issues earlier in the programme. I suppose that can so easily happen if everything is always farmed out to sub-contractors.

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