Arriva Trains Wales – the German rail operator which is giving up operating trains in Wales in October – is literally slicing in half more of the trains which run to and from Penarth.
It appears that there is now a “shortage” of rolling stock to operate all Arriva Trains’s scheduled services so now what are described as “emergency changes to trains” are being made.
The trains operating 11 different weekday services are being cut down to just half their original length. It means that there will now be schedules where some trains are still 4 carriages long but more will consist of only 2 carriages.
The weekday o7.32 Bargoed to Penarth via Cardiff train is one of those which will be halved in length – as will the 16.32 Penarth-Cardiff-Bargoed service . On these trains there will be 121 fewer seats than usual – meaning that some commuters may have to stand. Trains immediately before – and immediately after – these services will have 4 carriages.
Arriva Trains is a subsidiary of the German rail company Deutsche Bahn – the second largest transport company in the world [Deutsche Bahn’s predecessor – Deutsche Reichsbahn – conveyed Jews in goods-wagons to Nazi concentration camps and charged them for their rail fares].
Arriva describes the changes as “temporary” and says they are designed to ensure that some specific services have the same number of coaches on them on them ….However Arriva Trains Wales is – itself – “temporary” and will disappear in October.
ATW customer services director Bethan Jelfs is quoted as saying “We understand that having enough room onboard on trains is very important for the comfort of our customers and as such every available train is put into service during morning and evening peaks. With an ageing fleet of trains which travel hundreds of thousands of miles every year, it is important that we maintain our trains to the highest standards possible.”
The Welsh Labour Government which is responsible for rail services in Wales had promised that second-hand “Flex” trains – converted from old London-based electric trains – would be introduced in Wales this year – but so far none of these “new” trains have appeared. The first of them is still said to be undergoing testing. The train leasing company Porterbrook admits “there have been some disappointing delays to the delivery programme.”
The source of the problem is a decision made by the then Labour UK Government in 2003 and award a franchise to Arriva to operate trains in Wales with no increase in the amount of rolling stock for a period of 15 years .
A new operator for all trains in Wales – KeolisAmey – takes over in October but will have to use Arriva’s old rolling stock until new trains begin to arrive – probably some time next year…if then.