Posted: Sun 16th May 2021

A lunchtime Wrexham to Bidston train service is being pulled so driver training can take place

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, May 16th, 2021

Transport for Wales (TfW) has pulled a lunchtime train service running between Wrexham and Bidston in order for driver training to take place ahead of the introduction of new trains on the line. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

From today, 17th May until 10th September, the 12.34 from Wrexham General and the 13.35 from Bidston will be replaced by a bus. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

An influential rail user group has said it is “disappointed” in the train operators decision to withdraw the service. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

TfW published an update on its website on Friday, it said: “We’re introducing new timetables across our network from Sunday 16 May 2021.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Due to the ongoing coronavirus situation and measures we’ve introduced to support social distancing, we continue to run a reduced service compared to pre-pandemic levels.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“All available trains are in operation and we’ve prioritised capacity around our busiest services.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“From Sunday 16 May 2021 there’ll be some minor re-timings and amendments to our services, in particular, affecting services in the north of our network.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The TfW website update notes: “12.34 Wrexham General – Bidston and 13.35 Bidston – Wrexham General services will be replaced by rail replacement bus service on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The move the withdraw the service means the journey will take twice as long via the bus service. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The Wrexham Bidston Rail Users’ Association (WBRUA) said it is “disappointed with this decision which was taken without consultation.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We have shared our view with Transport for Wales that trains should only be cancelled for unforeseen operating issues or essential engineering work and that busses cannot effectively replace trains on the route as they double journey times.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The UK’s first battery-powered hybrid train is expected to come into service on the Wrexham to Bidston line sometime this year. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The Vivarail Class 230 ‘D-Train’ – are made from redundant London tube trains and re-engineered into modern units. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Transport for Wales is taking delivery of five Class 230’s trains which will come into service sometime this year allowing for a twice hourly service on the Wrexham to Bidston Line. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

WBRUA said the cancellation of services to facilitate crew training “brings into question TfWs ability to introduce two trains an hour from December if they have to cancel the current hourly service to run trains for driver training.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“On the plus side”, WRRUA said, “the fact that driver training is underway hopefully means that the Class 230s will be entering service on the Wrexham-Bidston line later this year so passengers will benefit from improved onboard facilities.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“By December this year, a half-hourly service should be in operation.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

A new Class 230 TfW train at Wrexham General Station on Monday evening – It’s not known when the new trains will come into service on the Wrexham to Bidston line.

Colin Lea, Transport for Wales Planning and Performance Director, said it was “always sensible to plan ahead”. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

He said: “Whenever you are travelling, you should check your travel details both in advance and on the day of travel itself. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Our timetable isn’t changing drastically but for other operators it may be a different story so don’t assume your train will leave at the same time it did last month or last year. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Measures we brought in to ensure customers can travel safer are still in place and we look forward to seeing more of you back on our trains now restrictions have started to ease.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Customers returning to the network after several months are reminded that face coverings are compulsory on trains and stations unless exempt and that you must buy a valid ticket before boarding a Transport for Wales service. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Customers can also use the Capacity Checker tool to give them an indication of how busy their train is likely to be. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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