Train firm defends decision for new express train not to stop at smaller stations
Transport for Wales has defended a decision to introduce a new express train from Cardiff to Holyhead that won't call at smaller stations in Shropshire and the Welsh border.
The new rail franchise said that it plans to introduce a new Cardiff – Holyhead service departing from Cardiff Central before 7.30am with a total journey time of under 4 hours 30 minutes.
It is also bringing in better Sunday services with more trains running over the weekend.
However the morning fast train will have a knock on effect that will see one of the stopping trains taken out of the timetable, a move that is concerning local rail groups.
The Shrewsbury to Chester rail users association is campaigning against the move saying it will affect local commuters.
A spokesman for Transport for Wales said: "Unfortunately to achieve this we will not be able to accommodate the stops between Shrewsbury and Chester due to the impact it will have on other existing services in the area at that time in the morning.
"This also applies to the return southbound service.
"Furthermore, platform extension work will need to be done in relation to Chirk, Ruabon and Gobowen to allow a train of this length to call at these stations.
“Based on our passenger number counts, whilst the number of passengers affected will be very small, every effort has been made to accommodate stops at these stations but it has been difficult to find a workable timetable solution.
“The new timetable will however bring positive changes, especially for Sunday services in the area. For example, the Shrewsbury – Aberystwyth service will increase from 16 to 21 services and the Crewe - Shrewsbury stopper service will see an increase from 9 to 16 services calling all stops.”