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 Driver's view of the line

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


This page updated 5th May 2022

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 Welsh Government 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 we are continually campaigning on various issues from train times and frequency to station maintenance. We welcome comments from anybody about the rail service in Mid Wales.

Transport for Wales rail services were brought under Welsh Government control from February 2021. The takeover from KeolisAmey has taken place with day-to-day services now run by a publicly-owned company. This follows significant falls in passenger numbers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

KeolisAmey will continue to be involved in operations, particularly in the South Wales region.

However, all is not well and the current dire state of Transport for Wales rail services, not only on the Cambrian but elsewhere across Wales and the Borders, was feared by some as the outcome of the Welsh Government getting its hands on control over day to day rail provision. The consensus is that the service provided is currently at its worst in living memory, worse than the maligned Arriva Trains Wales operation, worse than Central Trains and worse than British Rail's later post sprinterisation years. For all the bluster of a world class Wales and repeated use of phrases like Metro and embarking on journeys; the actual journeys that the public in Wales are finding on their rail network at the end of 2021 are very different.

We really do hope that the effort is made to effect a real improvement.


It's my great pleasure to report that face to face meetings will resume in May this year. It has been a long time since we met physically and we appreciate the patience of those members who could not join us in the virtual meetings over the past two years. The first meeting in the series of face to face meetings will be in the Slater Room, Tywyn Wharf Station, at 14:00 on Sunday 15 May. Our Annual General Meeting will be held in the Bowling Club, Machynlleth at 11:15 on Saturday 11th June. It will be great to see you all face to face at last.

In other news, Network Rail deserve praise for their work in reopening the line near Welshpool following the flooding. A huge amount of work was been completed in less than a month including the complete replacement of the tracks in places. We also look forward to the work to protect the line from such damage in future - rock armour will be placed along one side of the line to keep the trackbed in place.

We also look forward to the publication of the May timetable, hoping that additional services will be provided rather than the 2-hourly service which we currently have.

Dr Jeff Smith, SARPA Chair
April 2022

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)
   c/o Arosfa,   7 Railway Terrace,  Heol y Doll,  Machynlleth,  Powys,  SY20 8BJ  Wales,  United Kingdom
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