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 Driver's view of the line

Photo:- Robert Davies:-"Of Time and The Railway"


This page updated 6th March 2019

SARPA is the local rail users group for the Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth line running from the English border through Montgomeryshire to the coast of North Ceredigion and ending up in the increasingly important University (and Assembly administration ) town of Aberystwyth. We exist to preserve and promote the line so that there is a more sustainable transport system for future generations. SARPA is one of the more active rail user groups in Wales and 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 changed hands in October 2018 and the bid has been won by KeolisAmey. We look forward to working with the new operator, who run under the brand name "Transport for Wales".


Recent months have shown clearly that a group such as SARPA is still needed to push for improvements on the railway. A very visible problem is the continuing shortcomings in performance on the Cambrian, with a number of short-formed trains, some cancellations and passengers required to change trains in Machynlleth on a number of occasions. Despite the efforts and lobbying by SARPA, the problems persist, although they are less serious than they were last November.

What is less visible at the moment, but which will have a huge effect on services, is the question mark over Transport for Wales' promise to fit all the new DMUs with ERTMS. Instead, there are suggestions of only fitting the equipment to 21 2-car units (shared with Birmingham - Holyhead services), which will not be sufficient to deal properly with the present demand, let alone growth. Passenger numbers on the Cambrian have increased incredibly in recent years, especially since the introduction of additional services, and this can be expected to continue. As a result, there is a pressing need for more carriages on the line. Transport for Wales has promised 65% more seats across the Wales and Borders network, therefore it is only fair that the Cambrian should receive 65% more seats. Given this, we will need a lot more than 21 DMUs!

SARPA will continue to lobby Transport for Wales, politicians and others to ensure improvements to services, and new trains that will be a genuine improvement to services on the Cambrian.

Jeff Smith,
March 2019

You can see what we said about the railway industry in the past by clicking on this link to our archive page. We have archived all the newsletters back to November 2001.

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Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth Rail Passengers Association (SARPA)
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