Posted: Fri 23rd Jun 2023

Friday: Replacement bus service takes over as train breakdown disrupts Wrexham-Bidston route

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Jun 23rd, 2023

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Rail commuters between Wrexham and Bidston are experiencing major service disruption due to a train breakdown.

This incident, reported earlier today [Friday, June 23] at 1.29pm has led to the cancellation of all train services on the affected route for the rest of the day.

A replacement bus service, taking twice as long, will now shuttle passengers between the two locations. It will stop at several Flintshire stations along the way, including Shotton, Hawarden and Buckley.

Today’s cancellation adds to a growing list of disruptions for commuters using the Borderlands Line in recent weeks.

New Class 230 trains have been introduced on the line but are struggling to maintain the hourly timetable.

Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister responsible for transport in Wales, visited the region last week to understand the problems reported by passengers in recent months and respond to criticism.

On the train, he was able to discuss the issues with members of the Wrexham-Bidston Rail Users’ Association (WBRUA).

[Lee Waters MS, left]

The rail association has suggested the line be handed over to Merseyrail, criticising Transport for Wales (TfW) for its ‘inability’ to deliver an acceptable service.

Mr Waters expressed his commitment to acknowledging shortcomings. He told “It’s important we face the music because clearly, the situation on the Wrexham to Bidston line has been awful, nobody’s pretending otherwise.”

“It’s been a series of unfortunate events coming together,” he continued.

“We brought in newly refurbished trains (Class 230) from London Underground. They are really pleasant trains but have been slow to enter service. We’ve had some difficulties, and we have not got the full fleet in service yet,” he added.

Mr Waters empathised with the commuters: “The bus replacement is clearly a nightmare, and the trains are not where we need them to be. There’s no point trying to hide behind that; it’s just gone wrong.”

He also addressed a recent complaint: “After receiving a pretty harsh letter from the rail user association, which was justified, I was keen to come up and face the music myself and speak to the local team. We accept this isn’t good enough.”

He added, “We are working hard to make things better quickly. We have new trains coming on stream, but they have been delayed.”

“Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong, but it will get better. We will have a reliable service on the Wrexham-Bidston line, hopefully by the end of the year.”

Mr Waters revealed the Welsh government’s future plan: “We will develop a ‘five-point plan’ in conjunction with WBRUA and local representatives, so we can hold TfW accountable for its performance.”

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