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Delay to hourly train service introduction

 
Created on 12/12/2011 @ 17:08

 

The Welsh Government’s promise to introduce hourly train services for Welshpool and Newtown this year could be delayed by up to three years, it has been revealed over the weekend.
 
An hourly train service was announced by the Government for the Shrewsbury-Aberystwyth line for 2011, but it has now been put on the backburner following the latest round of transport cuts, despite a subsidised first-class restaurant car on the Cardiff-Holyhead line avoiding the axe.
 
The news will frustrate rail travellers as the current two-hourly service makes it impossible to use for commuters and difficult for travellers making Shrewsbury connections into Mid Wales. It was hoped that the hourly service would cut peak time road traffic and also attract more tourists into the area.
 
But last night a spokesperson confirmed that while the Welsh Government had already invested £8m in infrastructure for extra trains between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury, the hourly introduction had simply been delayed.
 
A spokeswoman told the Wales on Sunday: “Daytime hourly services between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury will be prioritised for delivery between 2012 and 2015, subject to ongoing infrastructure and timetable discussions and implementation by Network Rail and Arriva Trains Wales, as well as the business case and availability of funding.”
 
But it has not gone down well with the Shrewsbury-Aberystwyth Rail Passengers’ Association who believe additional trains at key times would enable people to commute to Aberystwyth or Shrewsbury for work or education.
 
Montgomeryshire AM Russell George said that he will continue to push for the early implementation of the hourly service, after originally lobbying Ministers for it back in June.
 
“The enhancement of the Cambrian Line is an extremely important aspect in delivering economic growth in Mid-Wales,” he said.
 
Meanwhile, the newspaper revealed that a plush restaurant car – complete with travelling chef – is still part of a £1.7m subsidy from the Welsh Government for a daily return express from Cardiff to Holyhead on weekdays.
 
This comes at a time when public bodies and many businesses have banned first-class travel on expenses as the financial situation deepens and campaigners claim the service is scarcely used.
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