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Train services for major events is ‘inadequate’ – MSs

04 May 2024 4 minute read
Image: Transport for Wales

As thousands of Bruce Springsteen fans plan their journeys to Cardiff ahead of tomorrow’s huge Principality Stadium concert, a Senedd Committee has described Wales’ train services during major events as ‘simply inadequate’.

Major event misery 

The Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure’s Committee’s annual report on Transport for Wales has called for more to be done to ensure people are able to take the train to major events.

The Committee is urging Transport for Wales to improve its planning and to discuss with Network Rail about rescheduling engineering works when they clash with concerts or big sporting events to allow trains to run later in the night.

With the Foo Fighters and Taylor Swift also heading to the Principality Stadium, and the Manic Street Preachers and Rick Astley at Cardiff Castle; the capitol’s rail connections will be under pressure to transport thousands of fans on late night trains in the coming months.

“Poor service”

The Committee has long singled out Wales football matches as an example of poor service with the last train from Cardiff often leaving minutes after the full-time whistle.

This criticism led to Transport for Wales arranging special late trains with extra carriages for the Euros play off double header against Finland and Poland which was welcomed by the Committee – and fans – alike.

Last year, Transport for Wales CEO James Price admitted to the Committee that services available for football events were not at the same level as for big rugby games.

Image: Transport for Wales

Llyr Gruffydd MS, Chair of the Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee, said: “Too often passengers have been let down by Transport for Wales; with a lack of trains and carriages, or services finishing early during major events.

“However, the extra services put on for the recent Wales football games was a welcome development and we hope that this will continue for big sporting events and concerts in future.

“Frequent last-minute delays mean that you don’t need to be a Springsteen fan to know that our trains aren’t Born to Run on time. We know that there is a long way to go to restore the public’s trust in our railways, especially on major event days.”

Cancellations 

The Committee is also calling for Transport for Wales to pay passengers to get to their destination in a taxi if a train is cancelled and no rail replacement service has been arranged.

Between January and July 2023, stations in Wales had the highest rate of cancelled services in Britain with Transport for Wales also scoring bottom of Transport Focus’ rail user satisfaction survey.

David Beer, senior manager Wales at the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “Passengers have been welcoming the wider introduction of new trains, providing much-needed capacity and addressing cancellations. It is good to see evidence of this recovery reflected in our rail survey now showing improvements in satisfaction with all aspects of the journey.

“We continue to work with Transport for Wales and Network Rail as they put passengers at the heart and rebuild service reliability and passenger trust.”

Despite signs that things are beginning to improve, there is still considerable frustration from passengers due to cancelled services; especially when there is no alternative way to complete the journey.

Factors

The Committee is asking for the time of year to be factored into decision-making on cancelled services and for Transport for Wales to recognise that being stranded in a train station at 9pm in July is very different to it happening in December.

Currently, cancellations throughout the year are all treated the same.

The location of the station where the service is terminated and its distance to alternative transport services and facilities should also be factored into cancellations, said the Committee.

Llyr Gruffydd MS, continued: “Our annual report sends a clear message: this must be the end of the line for poor performance. If Transport for Wales engages constructively and listens to our recommendations, we should see improvements soon.”


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Geraint
Geraint
18 days ago

Another example of the Welsh Labour government being unable to deliver. Soon there will be a Labour government at Westminster and there will be nowhere for Welsh Labour to hide.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
18 days ago

Public transport in Wales is at third world level. Whether its trains or buses they are all irregular, unreliable and finish far too early to be an alternative to the car. The buck stops at the Senedd and the Labour Party in Wales.

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