SARPA is the local rail users group for the Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth
running from the English border through Montgomeryshire to the coast of
Ceredigion and ending up in the increasingly important University (and
) town of
Aberystwyth. We exist to preserve and promote the line so that there is a
transport system for future generations. SARPA is one of the more active
user groups in Wales and meets monthly. We are continually campaigning on
various issues from train times and frequency to station maintenance and
welcome any comments anybody has about the rail service in Mid Wales.|
The Wales and Borders Franchise is due to change in October 2018 and the bid has been won by KeolisAmey. We look forward to working with the new operator.
Since the last newsletter, the situation on the Cambrian looks very different. On the face of it,
we've achieved a lot. From 2023, there will be brand new trains and a full hourly service on
the Cambrian, amongst other improvements. In a presentation that KeolisAmey gave to
Assembly Members, a map was annotated to denote that a full hourly service on the
Cambrian was a long-standing demand from stakeholders. Therefore we can greatly
congratulate ourselves: it's entirely possible that these changes would never have happened
without our hard work over a number of years. Many thanks to all those who helped in the
But there is still a lot of work to be done. There is no promise of anything happening
before the end of 2022. In the meantime, it's likely that a lack of carriages, short formations
and cancellations will continue, and perhaps worsen, if Keolis do not make earlier
improvements. Rather than a "big bang" in 2023, it would be preferable to have at least
some additional carriages, new trains and additional services sooner.
Another matter is the design of the new trains. SARPA has argued for many years that
large luggage racks are necessary for large bags and cases, on a line that sees many tourists
and long-distance passengers. Tables and seats aligned with windows are needed, and also
plug sockets by each seat. Tables and large luggage racks do not appear in at least one of the
proposed designs that was recently released, so we need to push for these on the trains.
It's also worth noting that several things are happening in the valleys that we have
been calling for on the Cambrian. As part of the South Wales Metro, there is talk of better
connections with bus services, in particular long distance buses. Why can't we have this on
the Cambrian? Similarly, the Amey side of KeolisAmey will be building passing loops and so
on: we need additional loops in order to allow the timetable to return to normal following
Despite this, the news about the franchise is very welcome, and I look forward to us
getting a chance to discuss our aspirations with the officers of the new franchise when the
opportunity arises. There's a lot to celebrate, but there is also a lot to fight for. I'm reminded
of the old British Rail slogan: "We're getting there".
|Views expressed on the SARPA website are those of contributors and not necessarily representative of the Association and its Officers as a whole. Information provided is published in good faith, but
the Association cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage arising therefrom.|
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