Arriva Trains Wales – the German-owned rail operator which runs the Valleys rail service is used to having its customers complain about trains being late, or cancelled without notice, but its customary day-to-day delays are – it seems – as nothing compared with its performance at Penarth’s Dingle Road Station.
In a series of emails, Arriva had faithfully promised Robert Donaldson of the “Friends of Dingle Park” [ the volunteer environmental group that’s transformed nearby Dingle Park] – that it would be dispatching a crew to clear away the rubbish, fly-tipping and undergrowth that’s accumulated at Dingle Station over the years- particularly on the now-disused platform on the opposite side of the track .
“Friends of Dingle Park” couldn’t undertake the platform clearing work themselves because only properly-qualified staff maintenance workers can carry out such operations on railway property . The sequence of events was as follows:-
On May 9th 2016 Mr Donaldson had contacted Arriva and asked them to tidy-up the Dingle Road station. His request was received and it was confirmed that it would be passed to Arriva’s “community relations” department. There followed another email saying that “Your service request has been assigned to our Maintenance team to investigate further”
On October 3rd 2016 Arriva wrote to Mr Donaldson saying “We’ve noticed that it has been a number of months since your enquiry has been updated. Unfortunately our maintenance teams have a higher than normal work load so occasionally requests can take longer than expected to be resolved. As it has been a while since we have heard from you, could you please confirm if this issue is still ongoing and requires our attention?”
On October 10th 2016 Mr Donaldson checked his emails, found the Arriva missive and rang them immediately to say the issue was indeed “still ongoing”.
On October 12th 2016 Arriva emailed Mr Donaldson to say Arriva’s “Maintenance Protection Coordinator” had scheduled an inspection for Monday 17th October between 12pm and 4pm.
On October 18th 2016 Arriva informed Mr Donaldson that the Maintenance Protection Coordinator had scheduled the removal of the fly-tipped items on November 23rd 2016.
On November 23rd 2016 …. nobody from Arriva actually turned up.
Not only did no one turn-up, but Mr Donaldson didn’t even get an email explaining why the crew had been delayed, or perhaps missed their train. The wait turned into hours, them days, then weeks. …And even today there’s still no sign of the missing Arriva crew commencing the long promised work at Dingle Road .
In desperation Mr Donaldson has now contacted Penarth Town Council to see if it can use its influence to persuade Arriva and its Teutonic parent company, Deutsch Bahn, to fulfill its promises.
PDN Note: Arriva Trains Wales is part of the Arriva group, which is owned by Deutsche Bahn. Today the Welsh Affairs Committee in the House of Commons has said people were tired of “old and cramped” trains provided by Arriva Trains Wales. The Welsh Government is due to decide who runs the next Wales and Borders franchise from 2018