Bus service replacing train on Wrexham to Bidston line again this week
Rail passengers in Flintshire hoping to use the Wrexham to Bidston line will have to endure an inconvenient and slow bus replacement service once again this week.
Transport for Wales (TfW) has said the ongoing disruption to services could last until April.
At the beginning of March, TfW ‘temporarily’ withdrew most of its Class 175 trains from service due to safety concerns while “enhanced maintenance” is carried out.
The move left TfW “short of rolling stock”, according to a statement by Jan Chaudhry-Van der Velde, the Chief Operations Officer at TfW.
The Class 175s form the backbone of TfW’s express services operating across Wales.
Many of the Class 175 trains have been taken out of service across the following a spate of fires that have plagued the trains.
However, the Class 175 trains do not operate on the Wrexham to Bidston lines, stations on this route are serviced by the 1980s-built Class 150 units which were due to be replaced four years ago.
The Class 150 units which usually run on the Borderlands Line have been withdrawn and sent to service other lines outside of the region.
A Transport for Wales spokesperson said: “The safety of our customers and colleagues remains our number one priority, and all necessary checks and repairs must be completed on our Class 175 trains before they are allowed back into service. For some of the trains, additional engine repair work has been found to be required.”
“While we have this shortage of rolling stock, we’re moving trains around the network to try to inconvenience the fewest number of customers possible.”
“Additionally we are working hard to source parts internationally to speed up the return of the trains – gradually more will be released into service over the next few weeks but we’re expecting some disruption to continue into April. We’re very sorry for the disruption to customers’ journeys while we work to carry out this essential work.”
Today, TfW’s ‘Journey Check’ website states that:
“Alterations to services between Bidston and Wrexham Central.”
“Due to more trains than usual needing repairs at the same time, disruption is expected until 23:59 25/03.”
“Train services between Bidston and Wrexham Central may be suspended.”
“Replacement road transport services are conveying passengers between Wrexham Central and Bidston in both directions until further notice.”
The influential Wrexham Bidston Rail Users Association (WBRUA) tweeted TfW on Sunday, seeking clarification on services for the rest of the week on the line.
TfW confirmed there would be a bus replacement service in operation.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Transport Minister, Natasha Ashgar MS, said last week:
“Transport for Wales’ bus replacement of all services on the Conwy Valley route, as well as the Wrexham to Bidston Borderlands route, is insulting to users of the lines in North Wales who depend on these services to make their regular commutes.”
“The entire cancellation of rail services on some North Wales branch lines, in order to continue services via the South Wales routes, is unacceptable.”
“Communities are now without a rail service due to the Labour-owned Transport for Wales’ negligence.”
“Trains designed for short distances, such as North Wales Branch lines, are now running ultra-long-distance services such as Cardiff to Holyhead and Manchester to Tenby – for which they are entirely unsuitable.”
“The repair of the Class 175s must become TfW’s utmost priority.”
“There can be no more delays to repairs, and rail services on rural lines in North Wales must be urgently restored.”
“Labour-run TfW’s neglect of routine cleaning and repairs caused the Class 175s withdrawal; such carelessness must never happen again, and lessons must be learned so commuters in Wales are not disadvantaged at the hands of their own Government.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com