Home    Aims & Objectives    Meetings    Join SARPA    Contact Us    Newsletter   Archive    Arriva Trains Wales   Links    Cymraeg
 Driver's view of the line

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


This page updated 12th March 2018

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 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 later in 2018 and we look forward to working with the new operator. We are sorry that after all the hard work put in by Arriva to improve the quality of the service, they have decided not to bid.


Despite the continued lack of information about the new franchise, SARPA continues to be influential and vocal. A recent example of this was in the Cambrian News in January, when an article was published about our opposition to the ticket price rises. For a number of years ticket prices have been rapidly rising so that the Westminster government pays a lower proportion in subsidies, whilst they are still enthusiastically investing in roads. In Wales, the Welsh Government still appears keen to invest in diverting the M4 around Newport, with a new estimate of £1.4bn. The railway between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen could be re-opened twice for that price!

It is also true that Wales has 5% of the UK population, 6% of the railways, but has only received 1% of the investment in railway infrastrucure in recent years. Certainly, more investment needs to be made in Welsh railway infrastructure.

Currently, we are still suffering serious overcrowding on Cambrian trains due to lack of carriages. There are 24 units which can work on the line (that is, 48 carriages), but some of them are used in other areas instead. On a larger scale, Arriva Trains Wales has barely any more carriages than it did at the start of the franchise in 2003, but passenger numbers have risen spectacularly. It will be necessary to take the bull by the horns and demand that the 24 available units will be transferred to the Cambrian in order to cope with the popularity of the railway, by obtaining additional carriages for the rest of the network.

There will be a chance to discuss this, and other matters, with Arriva senior management in our meeting in Shrewsbury in March. Additionally, we will continue to set forth our demands for the new franchise.

Jeff Smith
February 2018

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.

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.

Photographs used on the site are copyright of the photographers and should not be used without their permission by third parties.

The Webmaster reserves the right to abridge or amend copy.

Please note that hyperlinks included in the text throughout this site are intended for the benefit and information of our visitors. We try to include links that will be helpful for the understanding of railway terminology. They do not constitute an endorsement or recommendation on our part.

Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth Rail Passengers Association (SARPA)
   c/o Newtown Station Travel   The Railway Station  Old Kerry Road  Newtown,  Powys,  SY16 1BP  Wales,  United Kingdom
© SARPA 2005-2018
All Rights Reserved
Website:- Angus Eickhoff