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 Driver's view of the line

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


This page updated 10th May 2021

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 are to be brought under Welsh Government control from February 2021. Ministers have confirmed the takeover from KeolisAmey. with day-to-day services to be 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

We look forward with interest to the new venture.


We stand on a threshold in a number of ways at the moment. We can look forward to fewer Covid cases and some kind of a return to some kind of normal in the months to come (fingers crossed!). It's quite possible that there will be more reasons and opportunities to travel by train by the end of the summer, with opportunities to see old friends after a long pause.

We also stand on a threshold regarding the trains that work the line. The first of the new trains have been completed and in testing recently. This will bring benefits of course: the new trains will have better acceleration, much better air conditioning, and there will be very good provision for luggage and bicycles. That having been said, SARPA is still arguing for improvements such as an extra toilet in a 2-car unit and the ability to go bi-mode when the wires reach Shrewsbury. The danger is that it will cost more and cause more incovenience to get to grips with these issues once the trains are in service so we are still lobbying!

More good news is that work has been underway on a number of bridges across the network, with major work to raise Black Bridge to the east of Machynlleth planned for May and June. This will help sustain the line and its services into the future in a world which suffers from changes weather patterns.

Speaking of changing weather patterns, I am reminded of the Welsh Government's document "Llwybr Newydd" which sets the foundations for the Welsh Government's future strategy regarding transport. There are lots of great ideas such as increasing the use of railways and increasing capacity in order to reduce carbon emissions. As you might expect, in response to the consultation SARPA emphasised the need for definite targets and miletones in this. Going forwards, SARPA will need to ensure that they keep to their word and invest heavily in our railways and improve services.

Jeff Smith,
April 2021

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.

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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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