Andrew R T Davies, Conservative Assembly Member for South Wales Central (which includes Penarth) is demanding an official inquiry into the chaos on the railways in Wales following the transfer – last month – of the former Arriva Trains franchise to the Welsh Labour Government’s “Transport for Wales” quango .
Transport for Wales had claimed that the reason a third of their 127 trains have had to undergo repairs was because of “Storm Callum” – (a storm so long ago that everyone’s now forgotten about it) – and TfW officers also came out with that time-worn excuse “leaves on the line”.
Yesterday however, the REAL reason for the chaos emerged when the Welsh Government’s transport minister Ken Skates admitted in the Welsh Assembly that Transport for Wales had not been given “full and proper access” before the franchise handover to inspect the fleet, which he claimed had been “very poorly maintained” by the predecessor German company Arriva Trains Wales.
Andrew RT Davies has now written to the Welsh Assembly’s “economy, infrastructure and skills committee” – demanding an inquiry into the widespread train cancellations, disruption and resultant overcrowding that’s occurred . Mr Davies says “As well as severe overcrowding, there have been numerous delays and cancellations, with a lack of rolling stock to blame and no spare parts to patch up the current fleet.”
“We’re led to believe that around a third, possibly even up to a half of all trains in Wales are out of action, and it’s clear the handover from the previous franchise holders, Arriva Trains Wales, has been poorly executed.”
Meanwhile the Chief Executive of Transport for Wales James Price is giving evidence to the Welsh Assembly’s “economy committee” along with the Director of Rail Operations Alexia Course.
He has admitted that 20 trains suddenly went out of action over just one weekend with “wheel flats” and that his team did not get enough access to Arriva rolling stock before the handover.
PENARTH SERVICES: Rail services between Penarth and Cardiff have continued to operate to schedule this week – but at the end of last week there had been confusion when Transport for Wales published details on its website of a “rail replacement bus service” due to begin from Penarth yesterday (Wednesday).
Subsequently this information was said to have been a “draft” document and was withdrawn by TFW .