Posted: Tue 14th Jun 2022

Call for action after North Wales passengers forced to squeeze onto packed train

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jun 14th, 2022

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. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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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. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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“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.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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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.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


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