Posted: Wed 30th Mar 2022

North to South Wales train journey “the most horrendous situation I’ve ever witnessed” says MS

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Mar 30th, 2022

Welsh Parliamentarians have described how someone lost their job and others missed a funeral following ‘five or six hour’ delays on a train. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Monday evening Members of the Senedd were caught up in train travel woes, and live documented the several hour delays. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

North Wales MS Llyr Gruffydd said the journey was, “the most appalling experience I’ve ever had in using a train in Wales”. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Yesterday in the Senedd Janet Finch-Saunders MS made a passionate speech regarding the problem, requesting a formal statement from Deputy Minister for Transport Lee Waters on the matter – adding that “I notice many of my colleagues asking for statements during business statement, but I never see those statements”. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The TfW displeasure was also prefaced with a note, “I would also like to put on record my utmost disappointment that our Deputy Llywydd didn’t see fit to allow this to be an urgent question” – to murmurs of from other members. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Starting the question Janet Finch-Saunders MS was interrupted, to which she replied “you weren’t there, I was”. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Finally able to ask, “It’s in relation to the severe and chaotic delays that were encountered by hundreds of passengers yesterday due to a rail operational incident at Abergavenny. Three trains, several carriages, and hundreds of passengers left stranded on these trains in warm weather conditions with no ventilation. The first train—we were allowed on the platform for a couple of hours. ” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I left my office with a member of staff at 1 o’clock. I arrived in my flat here in Cardiff at 10 o’clock last night. It was the most horrendous situation I’ve ever witnessed. People crying, people anxious to get to their final destination.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“In desperation, my colleague Llyr Gruffydd and I took to Twitter, copying in the Deputy Minister and hour by hour went past with nothing. Frankly, I would have been really ashamed to have been the Deputy Minister, or not to have gone on to Twitter and said, ‘Look, I will launch an investigation as to what’s gone wrong.’ But we were kept with no food, no nourishment.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“As you can see, I’m pretty upset about it, because I know someone who missed a funeral, somebody who’s lost their job, and frankly, everybody, everybody had a really sad story. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Being an hour or two delayed, these things happen. We’re talking five or six hours, stuck on a train, unable to do anything. Now I think that it was such a serious issue yesterday that the Deputy Minister should have come forward this morning to actually make a statement. So, it’s not your fault, Trefnydd, and I’m not getting annoyed with you, but I do want a statement from Lee Waters and I will pursue, and I shall ask and ask again: the people of Wales, passengers even from England they deserve a reason as to what happened yesterday and I jolly well hope he launches a thorough investigation.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Do I have any confidence now in Transport for Wales and this Welsh Government’s ability to get me here from my constituency? No.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Minister Lesley Griffiths MS replied, “I absolutely agree with you that it was a very difficult journey yesterday for you and for many other people and I have spoken to other Members who were on that train. I have also spoken with the Deputy Minister for Climate Change who is very aware of the situation and is meeting with the chair and chief executive of Transport for Wales this afternoon around this issue.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Initial investigations have shown it was due to an unexpected operational matter, and they are working around it. I’m not saying it’s acceptable at all; I absolutely appreciate. I’ve done that journey many, many, many times myself. I was on a train yesterday morning, so it could have been me. So, I’m absolutely not taking anything away, but we have to work through the process and we have to find out what went wrong. It’s very regrettable; it was clearly very, very poor passenger experience.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The Deputy Minister is set to take questions on the matter later today. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

North Wales MS Llyr Gruffydd added his weight to the account given and shared his view, “I have to say that last night was the most appalling experience I’ve ever had in using a train in Wales. The journey, which was supposed to be three hours, was a seven-hour journey. My train was stationary for four hours. That was one train; I know of four other trains in the same situation. No information, because the loudspeaker in my carriage didn’t work, and that’s the state of our rolling stock at the moment. No alternative transport, although we’d waited four hours. No arrangements in place to move passengers. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“There were people who were ill on one of the trains; there were people in tears on my train. Some of them did miss a funeral; someone was concerned about the future of their employment because they were late for their shift. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I listened to Transport for Wales officers in the committee a fortnight ago saying, ‘Yes, it’s challenging, but things are improving.’ Do you know what? I don’t think I can believe a word they tell us any more. I certainly don’t feel that I have confidence in them at the moment.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I heard that there were other problems again this morning; trains from north to south late, cancelled. I had a number of people contacting me on Friday morning; thousands of people trying to travel back to north Wales after the game on Thursday night. There were two carriages, just two carriages. Didn’t they realise that the game was happening?” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“So, can we have a statement? And a statement—not an opportunity to ask a few supplementaries tomorrow—a statement from the Deputy Minister, because I want him to do three things: first of all, he has to apologise to the people of north Wales for the state of the appalling service that we have to suffer from one day to the next; secondly, I want him to explain to us as a Senedd what he’s going to do to resolve this problem in the short term; and third, he needs to explain why we’re going to have to wait until the end of the year before we see new stock on the north-south service. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Because if the service continues as it is for the next eight months until then, there’ll be nobody left using the trains from north to south.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


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