Penarth commuters are already crammed onto Arriva’s dirty and notoriously unreliable trains – but now more services are to be operated by two-carriage trains like this one –  making crowding worse 

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.

A two carriage train at Dingle Station changing its destination board before continuing the climb to Penarth

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 light at the end of the tunnel: What the new  Keolis Amey trains will look like when they are  “branded” in the colours of “Transport for Wales”

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.

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Penarth Daily News email address . Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time. Comments posted on the site by commentators reflect their opinions and are not necessarily shared, endorsed or supported by Penarth Daily News.
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  1. flowerpower says:

    Reducing the number of carriages temporarily because of shortages seems resonable given that all the times I use the train on a wekend between Penarh and Cardiff they are pretty empty.

  2. You kidding? says:

    “We understand that having enough room onboard on trains is very important for the comfort of our customers”

    No, how about:

    “Having enough room onboard trains is very important to our customers’ dignity and safety”

    This company has got away with murder for so long, the Welsh government is too soft!!

    • Jp says:

      It has – I will concede that often the 4 carriage trains were often sparsely filled at Penarth, it had understood that Arriva ran them for operational reasons (ie were were a terminus where drivers could change ends safely) rather than for our convenience anyway.

      Personally I can’t wait to see the back of non-Arriva strains & fails and only regret that the new operator is being lumbered with their clapped out stock, surly staff and filthy stations.

      Never mind, somehere in Germany they’ll be counting the profits, and UK high subsidies by the oodle …. great to see Tory Dogma in full flow!

    • It’s not the company or the Welsh government responsible for the number of trains. It is the London government.

    • snoggerdog says:

      im going to say something ridiculous now,”you kidding” instead of putting the blame on foreigners, why dont we run our own railways,what a frightening thought it wouldnt be murder then it would be genocide the political donkeys who are “in charge” couldnt run a corner shop,without the help of sciatic juncker.

      • Sue says:

        The state loves to flog off public assets to line its own pockets after we’ve paid to build up the infrastructure.

  3. Philip Rapier says:

    The Tory Rail Privatisation con continues.Proudly they flogged off to the German Nationalised Rail Network about 20% of our Public Transport system
    According to wikipaedia both companies own identical Rolling Stock. Which of course is true the rubbish is just leased by the new franchise holder.
    The investment in new trains is grossly overstated.
    However one of the new 769 Battery Multiple Units has been delivered. I travelled down from Manchester on it recently and it is superb.
    Nothing else is likely to turn up for 12 months. Rail-Trams are on order for the metro should be here by 2023

    • The BR Class 769s are not battery and have not been delivered so that’s wrong on two counts. The BR Class 319s from which they are modified can by no stretch of the imagination be described as “superb” so that’s wrong on a third count. I would describe them as somewhere between the Pacers and Sprinters and it should be remembered that they are only two years younger than the Pacers.

      • Natalie says:

        Class 379s are running quite happily over here in Anglia. One of them, unit 379013, has been converted as a BEMU testbed which; given that the 379s are leaving the region; may well have been visiting Wales recently.

        A Class 379 is nothing like a Class 319; it’s more like a bastard cross between a the guts of a Class 345 and the body of a Class 377. If you insist on making the comparision with a train 30 years older then the Class 317 would be closer.

        However you’re more likely to see Class 230s battery operated in Wales; which are actually older than the Pacers; being London Underground D-stock that’s been rescued from the scrappers.

  4. Chris says:

    A commercial company’s disinclination to spend money on maintenance in the last months of a franchise is a natural and predictable result of the Conservatives’ badly thought out rail privatisation. However, comparing any resulting overcrowding to the Nazi’s transport of Jews in cattle trucks is both unnecessary and highly offensive.

    • Richard Williams says:

      So Germans find criticism of their nation’s shameful history and their poorly run railways in the UK to be “offensive” . Might not the Jews, who they slaughtered by the million, be rather more entitled to take offence at them?

  5. Racist Mark (aka Mark Foster) says:

    Your Indian fellow citizens are used to sitting on top of the trains. Why shouldn’t the great Deutsche Bahn slice these trains in half to make you feel at home?

  6. Andrew Worsley says:

    It was interesting to discover that the parent company of Arriva used to convey Jews to the Concentration Camps and make them pay for the journey . If my memory serves me right they used to use cattle wagons to cram the unfortunates into as well , so these companies have a history of cramming people into railway carriages of one form or another , comfort is not accounted for , only the fares collected . Watch out soon for some refurbished , redesigned cattle trucks being pressed into service !!…” ve are here to serve ja? all smoking ist verboten , seats are extra.”.

    • tomdawkes says:

      This reference to concentration camp trains in the article is quite out of order, as is the joking reference in this comment to German-accented English. How many of your readers are happy to drive a VW/BMG/Mercedes car?

  7. Richard says:

    “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]. ”

    This comment is rather strong and definitely not related to the context of the article. Shame as it detracts from what was quite an informative article.

    A real shame.

  8. Jessica says:

    Lets hope the other 2 carriages get put on the Bridgend to Merthyr train then. Last week lots of people could not board the train at Cadoxton because the 7.36 got cancelled and then the 7.51 turned up eventually with just 2 carriages and already full to bursting. People were late for work and appointments. I got the Penarth train when I used to live there and 4 carriages is nonsense when they were virtually empty.

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