Guest article from the Chester Shrewsbury Rail Partnership
Plans by Transport for Wales to amend the timetable for the Chester to Shrewsbury Line would lead to a reduction in the number of trains calling at stations on that route the Rail Partnership was informed. The changes proposed to the Chester – Wrexham – Shrewsbury rail timetable from December 2019 by Transport for Wales have been condemned as unacceptable.
Despite any consultation, the hourly service on the line is being reduced in order to accommodate the introduction of a loco hauled service between Cardiff and Holyhead. The result means that the 0925 from Shrewsbury to Chester would no longer operate and passengers would be forced to wait up to two hours for a train north. The 0925 service is particularly important as it is the first off peak train giving access to cheaper off peak fares for the longer journeys. On its return journey the 14.20 service south from Chester will again not stop at all stations. Passengers again would be forced to wait for the following service with a wait of up to two hours.
Cllr David A. Bithell lead member for Place – Environment and Transport at Wrexham CBC and Chair of the Chester Shrewsbury Rail Partnership said, ‘When we learnt of this proposal we immediately wrote to the Minister Ken Skates and asked for assurances that the base line hourly service on this line would be maintained for all our stations. This new franchise, managed by Transport for Wales, is less than 12 months old and we are promised new improved service levels and yet we are expected to accept a reduced service pattern from December’. He added ‘The hourly service was delivered as part of the Arriva Trains Wales franchise and has been well supported by passengers. This is the base line service that must not be compromised and we are shocked that such a proposal could be considered’.
“The service pattern proposed is as follows:”
NEW EXPRESS SERVICE – Depart Cardiff 0702; Shrewsbury 09.01; Wrexham 09.30; Chester 09.52; Holyhead arrive 11.17.
SERVICE TO BE WITHDRAWN – Depart Cardiff 07.21; Shrewsbury 09.25; Gobowen 09.43; Chirk 09.48; Ruabon 09.55; Wrexham 10.01; Chester 10.20; Holyhead arrive 12.23.
No departure from Shrewsbury for intermediate stations between 08.25 and 10.25.
NEW EXPRESS SERVICE – Depart Holyhead 11.34; Chester 13.16; Wrexham 13.31; Ruabon 13.39; Chirk 13.46; Gobowen 13.51; Shrewsbury 14.17; Cardiff arrive 16.15.
The existing service to Birmingham International departing Chester at 13.30 and stopping at all stations to Shrewsbury would be unaltered.
SERVICE TO BE WITHDRAWN – Depart Holyhead 12.32; Chester 14.20; Wrexham 14.34; Ruabon 14.41; Chirk 14.48; Gobowen 14.53; Shrewsbury 15.15; Cardiff arrive 17.16 (continues to Maesteg).
No departure from Chester for intermediate stations between 13.30 and 15.36. Both of those trains to Birmingham International. No through service to Cardiff until 16.21 from Chester.
If we get a bad settlement, we’ll have to look at further cuts.Have your say.
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