Call for action after North Wales passengers forced to squeeze onto packed train
A call for action has been made after passengers travelling from north to south Wales were forced to squeeze onto a packed train at the weekend.
Transport for Wales (TfW), the not-for-profit company owned by the Welsh Government, has strongly been criticised over the running of services.
It came after football fans travelling to Cardiff to watch Wales take on Belgium on Saturday shared photos of the cramped conditions on social media.
Despite the big event, just two carriages were put on for the service between Holyhead and the Welsh capital.
The train was already reported to be packed by the time it reached Bangor at 11.10am.
. @tfwrail gets better….direct train to Cardiff now terminated at Wrexham. Hundreds waiting for another 2 carriages. Disgusting! pic.twitter.com/dDIdt3PYrU
— Wayne Jones (@penbonc) June 11, 2022
And the situation got worse after passengers were forced to get off at Wrexham to wait for another train when their service was unexpectedly terminated.
The issue was raised in the Senedd today by Aberconwy MS Janet Finch-Saunders, who described the state of services as “shocking”.
The Conservative MS also shared her own experience of problems with TfW trains.
She said: “Only last Monday, coming down here, I had a terrible journey. I was told the reason was that the mark five train that was scheduled to operate on this journey on June 6 developed a serious fault with its brakes and was unable to be used for this service.
“I was unwell last week, and it took me five and a quarter hours, door to door, and there wasn’t a trolley on there
“I begged for a bottle of water because I’d been quite unwell. Again, that’s not satisfactory on a four- or five-hour journey.
“But more importantly, last Saturday morning, passengers in Wales saw further chaos on Transport for Wales trains.
More chaos on the TfW network. Our rail system is worlds behind what we see elsewhere across Europe 🚊
The scenes witnessed on Saturday with fans travelling down to watch Wales V Belgium are unacceptable ❌
Watch my contribution below 👇 pic.twitter.com/LnlOlA6Nkc
— Janet Finch-Saunders MS/AS (@AberconwyMS) June 14, 2022
“A train running from Holyhead to Cardiff had only two carriages and was already full by 11.10 a.m. at Bangor.
“It was all kicking off on Twitter, and I do believe I saw the deputy minister get involved.
“There were questions raised with TfW, and TfW came back and stated, and I quote: ‘There are no upper limits on the number of customers permitted to travel on board a train, unlike other modes of transport, such as bus and aircraft.’
“When is the rail service going to improve and would the deputy minister, instead of tweeting, come in here and make a statement?”
Lee Waters, deputy minister for transport, was criticised on Twitter at the weekend after entering into a debate on the running of train services with BBC presenter Huw Edwards.
Quoting a tweet showing the scenes on the rammed train from north Wales, Mr Edwards said: “As a regular rail user in Wales this terrible image does not surprise me.
“The staff at @tfwrail are great but they’re dealing with thoroughly inadequate provision. Feel very sorry for these passengers.”
Been scrolling through the feed and I've yet to come across pics of crowding on the underground and other busy trains?
— Lee Waters MS (@Amanwy) June 13, 2022
Mr Waters replied asking why no reference had also been made to packed carriages on the London Underground.
He said: “Been scrolling through the feed and I’ve yet to come across pics of crowding on the underground and other busy trains?”
Mr Edwards responded: “Ah. Lee wants to compare the vast public transport network in a city of 9m people to the creaking structure of Welsh rail. Surely that would not be ‘fair and balanced’?”
Others accused Mr Waters of engaging in “whataboutery”.
Replying to the comments by Ms Finch-Saunders, Minister for North Wales Lesley Griffiths said: “It was certainly very disappointing to see the overcrowding on Transport for Wales services in north Wales over the weekend.
“I know the deputy minister has certainly told Transport for Wales to make every effort to focus resource to the busier services.
“Of course, there was an international football match on Saturday, so far more people I’m sure were travelling down from North Wales.
“I too saw people getting very frustrated on social media and I absolutely understand that frustration.
“It wasn’t good enough, and, as I say, we do understand passengers’ frustrations.”
She continued: “You’ll be aware of the incident that happened at Craven Arms recently, where a Transport for Wales train hit a stolen mini digger that had been abandoned on the line, so that took some carriages out.
“You mentioned why a train wasn’t used last week, and, of course, if there is a serious fault, we would not want it to be used.
“You will be aware that we have got new trains coming in later this year. They are currently being tested.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com