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New end of the line for rail service?

 
Created on 19/10/2016 @ 07:21
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A local railway users group says that it has seen plans that show the line running east from Welshpool is to end soon in Shrewsbury.

It has been a good year for local railway passengers with the introduction of an hourly service boosting user numbers, but SARPA, which represents rail users in Montgomeryshire, says they may have taken their eye of the ball and allowed complacency to slip in.

Currently trains travelling through the area from Aberystwyth continue all the way to Birmingham International, but the group fears that could be about to change.

Chairman Angus Eickhoff said: “Complacency is now our biggest enemy as many people mistakenly believe the job was done after a few extra services were provided last May. However, with the upcoming re-letting of the Wales and Border franchise specified from Cardiff looming we must ensure that the voice of Mid Wales and Shropshire is heard and that the success of the extra services is maintained and built on so that the people of Mid Wales have a modern and functioning public transport option.

“The trouble being experienced with the current ScotRail and Southern franchises primarily stems from mistakes made in the specification of the contract between Government and the private operators, it’s one thing for the Welsh Government to make the right general noises about improvements but actually specifying and delivering a contract that does deliver is another. Stakeholders in Mid Wales and Shropshire must keep the pressure up.”

The extra services introduced in May 2015 have reportedly seen increases in usage of 30%, according to the group who say any changes will make a huge impact with people returning to their cars or buses to travel to the Midlands and beyond.

At its AGM, SARPA said it will push for the following for any new frnachise:

•       A realistic quantity of rolling stock in the franchise with a minimum 50% increase in carriages on the Birmingham to Cambrian & Chester routes.

•       Trains that go where there is customer demand -Through Trains must be maintained to Birmingham New Street & Birmingham International from the Cambrian (Aberystwyth and Pwllheli). Improved connections at Shrewsbury from/to Cambrian trains towards/from the North West of England i.e Chester/Crewe/Manchester.

•       A full Hourly service on the Cambrian Mainline.

•       A Cambrian Coast Line that’s fit for purpose – a proper Sunday service all year round and the need for increased capacity at peak times.

The Group has also called for members to sign up and support so their voice is stronger. The subscription is £8 a year through tony@montgomeryshire.eu or call 01938 559087.

The next meeting will take place on November 1 at 7pm at The Sportsman in Newtown. A representative from one of the bidders for the new Wales and Border franchise Abeilio Trains Wales will be attending.


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