Arriva Trains Wales Query

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merlodlliw

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I thought both Labour and Plaid had seen sense and are planning to install a not-for-profit operator when ATW's franchise finally ends.


Nothing in concrete yet, but I will agree the 15 year no growth was a total disaster, politics change all the time, we shall see.
Network rail is a not for profit Company,varied views on how they operate,as for me I am not bothered, so long as people get shifted in reasonable comfort,the current ATW lack of capacity must be sorted. N F P would be good so long as its run by rail professionals,not politicians, The Co Op & JL are excellent examples in retail,
 
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Penmorfa

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I'm sure your sentiments would be welcomed by enthusiasts, but what the passengers want is a reliable, modern looking locomotive that doesn't break down........
Well said, the history of re-engineering old locos is'nt a happy one. The same goes for rolling stock. The Mark 2's are now at least 37 years old, to us they may be wonderful but to the public they are old and dated with antique doors, etc. The last time I was on the WAG we arrived into Crewe from Cardiff and a young executive type woman joined us at our table. She got out her phone and rang up hubby/boyfriend. 'Darling, I was on the platform in Crewe but this ancient train has just appeared, I will be in Chester soon'. We looked at each other in horror - how can she say such a thing!
 

Rhydgaled

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Well said, the history of re-engineering old locos is'nt a happy one. The same goes for rolling stock. The Mark 2's are now at least 37 years old, to us they may be wonderful but to the public they are old and dated with antique doors, etc. The last time I was on the WAG we arrived into Crewe from Cardiff and a young executive type woman joined us at our table. She got out her phone and rang up hubby/boyfriend. 'Darling, I was on the platform in Crewe but this ancient train has just appeared, I will be in Chester soon'. We looked at each other in horror - how can she say such a thing!
I'm sure your sentiments would be welcomed by enthusiasts, but what the passengers want is a reliable, modern looking locomotive that doesn't break down........
That is why I didn't suggest bringing back the four ATW-liveried 57/3s and fitting them with TDM. I did say you'd have to replace pretty much everything, which I would think would make them as reliable as new locos (the MTU program on the class 43s has gone quite well hasn't it?). Hell, since you are replacing EVERYTHING, a class 60 bodyshell (or any other) could be used instead.

Apart from the slam doors (which I admit do date them alot), the WAG express coaches seem to me slightly younger than the 150s/153s. Anyway, new DMUs are out, and I doubt Wales can afford new LHCS stock, so we have to make do with what we have, 18-22 mark2s, and what is spare (eg. 6 mark2 DBSOs).
 

Penmorfa

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That is why I didn't suggest bringing back the four ATW-liveried 57/3s and fitting them with TDM. I did say you'd have to replace pretty much everything, which I would think would make them as reliable as new locos (the MTU program on the class 43s has gone quite well hasn't it?). Hell, since you are replacing EVERYTHING, a class 60 bodyshell (or any other) could be used instead.

Apart from the slam doors (which I admit do date them alot), the WAG express coaches seem to me slightly younger than the 150s/153s. Anyway, new DMUs are out, and I doubt Wales can afford new LHCS stock, so we have to make do with what we have, 18-22 mark2s, and what is spare (eg. 6 mark2 DBSOs).
To get a loco conversion such as you are suggesting would mean that the WAG would have to engage a contractor to do the work and then enter into a long term leasing contract for their use. I just cannot see the WAG or their overseers at the Dept of Transport ever going down this path. Alternatively such a conversion would be done speculatively. With the spread of electrification, I can't see any company taking the risk.

As for the Mark 2's my money is on them being quietly disposed of. The future for ATW is unit based. With the honourable exception of 'Gerald' (and son of) of course.
 

Arglwydd Golau

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I thought both Labour and Plaid had seen sense and are planning to install a not-for-profit operator when ATW's franchise finally ends.


Nothing in concrete yet, but I will agree the 15 year no growth was a total disaster, politics change all the time, we shall see.
Network rail is a not for profit Company,varied views on how they operate,as for me I am not bothered, so long as people get shifted in reasonable comfort,the current ATW lack of capacity must be sorted. N F P would be good so long as its run by rail professionals,not politicians, The Co Op & JL are excellent examples in retail,
.....and of course there is the example of Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water - a not for profit company owned by Glas Cymru, as it says '...instead of paying shareholder dividends we reinvest any surpluses in the business to improve service levels for the benefit of our customers'.

Sounds good to me (for a TOC!)
 

tbtc

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For all the talk of "no growth", ATW have increased the number of services in the Wales & Borders region quite a bit (albeit losing some direct links in the process...).

Given the "highest subsidy required per passenger" figure that gets bandied about (of all UK TOCs) I can see why they aren't as ambitious as some posters would like them to be.

A "not for profit" model sounds lovely, but despite the Co-operative Group having this approach their shops tend to be more expensive than the "profit making" supermarkets.

Network Rail were meant to be a "not for dividend" organisation, but look how inefficient they are - would you really want a Wales & Borders franchise *that* beaurocratic with no incentive to clamp down on their costs?
 

Rhydgaled

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To get a loco conversion such as you are suggesting would mean that the WAG would have to engage a contractor to do the work and then enter into a long term leasing contract for their use. I just cannot see the WAG or their overseers at the Dept of Transport ever going down this path. Alternatively such a conversion would be done speculatively. With the spread of electrification, I can't see any company taking the risk.

As for the Mark 2's my money is on them being quietly disposed of. The future for ATW is unit based. With the honourable exception of 'Gerald' (and son of) of course.
Getting the locos would be difficult yes, but the mark 2 stock is needed. In the long run I think Manchester - Swansea should go over to loco-hauled, unless you can convert 175 driving cars into centre cars by taking the cab off and replacing it with a through-corridor, to make 4 or 5-car 175s. Even then, some other route will have to go loco-hauled to provide replacments for the 175s that are turned into centre cars to lengthen others.
 

tbtc

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How daft would it be to run Swansea - Cardiff - Crewe - Stockport - Manchester Piccadilly 13/14 - Warrington North Western - Crewe - Cardiff - Swansea?

No reversal needed at Manchester (though you'd probably need a long dwell time at 13/14 which would be hard to schedule)...

Shame there's no Oldham Loop any more so you can't run Llandudno - Manchester - Oldham - Rochdale - Manchester - Llandudno!
 

jones_bangor

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Getting the locos would be difficult yes, but the mark 2 stock is needed. In the long run I think Manchester - Swansea should go over to loco-hauled, unless you can convert 175 driving cars into centre cars by taking the cab off and replacing it with a through-corridor, to make 4 or 5-car 175s. Even then, some other route will have to go loco-hauled to provide replacments for the 175s that are turned into centre cars to lengthen others.
Could 3 car 175s not be capable of moving a 4th trailer vehicle? Obviously it would affect performance, but....


 

ainsworth74

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Could 3 car 175s not be capable of moving a 4th trailer vehicle? Obviously it would affect performance, but....
I'm sure they could do it but I think the impact on performance would be too significant to make it worthwhile. I think the only DMU where installing a trailer can work without any significant hit on performance is probably 185s due to them being massively overpowered (same engines as 22xs and 180s but only a 100mph top speed). A 175 on the other hand has a much less powerful engine (450hp vs 750hp) so there is less power in reserve to haul around an extra 30-40 tonnes of dead weight without it having a significant impact on performance.
 

Rhydgaled

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How daft would it be to run Swansea - Cardiff - Crewe - Stockport - Manchester Piccadilly 13/14 - Warrington North Western - Crewe - Cardiff - Swansea?

No reversal needed at Manchester (though you'd probably need a long dwell time at 13/14 which would be hard to schedule)...
Completely pointless as I don't think there's a run-round facility at Swansea.

Could 3 car 175s not be capable of moving a 4th trailer vehicle?
Nice idea, the 2-car 175s still wouldn't be much use though, could they shift an unpowered trailer to form more 3-car units? I imagine building extra coaches would be quite a bit more expensive than turning existing vehicles into centre cars anyway, if the latter is possible.
 

merlodlliw

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.....and of course there is the example of Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water - a not for profit company owned by Glas Cymru, as it says '...instead of paying shareholder dividends we reinvest any surpluses in the business to improve service levels for the benefit of our customers'.

Sounds good to me (for a TOC!)
Indeed, when Welsh Water was privatised, it started buying hotels without a clue on how they run like railtrack went bust, however Welsh Water does not supply North East Wales here it has always been Dee Valley,a private Company & well run. However a utility is one thing, rail is totally different.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
For all the talk of "no growth", ATW have increased the number of services in the Wales & Borders region quite a bit (albeit losing some direct links in the process...).

Given the "highest subsidy required per passenger" figure that gets bandied about (of all UK TOCs) I can see why they aren't as ambitious as some posters would like them to be.

A "not for profit" model sounds lovely, but despite the Co-operative Group having this approach their shops tend to be more expensive than the "profit making" supermarkets.

Network Rail were meant to be a "not for dividend" organisation, but look how inefficient they are - would you really want a Wales & Borders franchise *that* beaurocratic with no incentive to clamp down on their costs?
You are correct about the Co Op pricing of course, however as a shareholder I get my dividend twice a year.

You are also correct on how inefficient Network Rail are and their pricing structure,not a model to follow.
 

jones_bangor

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Getting the locos would be difficult yes, but the mark 2 stock is needed. In the long run I think Manchester - Swansea should go over to loco-hauled, unless you can convert 175 driving cars into centre cars by taking the cab off and replacing it with a through-corridor, to make 4 or 5-car 175s. Even then, some other route will have to go loco-hauled to provide replacments for the 175s that are turned into centre cars to lengthen others.
I think getting the leasing company to invest in extra carriages is more realistic than the suggested "botch", which would not actually increase the number of carriages in Wales (not that the lease owners would ever contemplate such a botch!!).

The only feasible future for the Mark 2s is through wiring and use with 67s / Mark 3 DVTs (NOT DBSOs) on Holyhead to Cardiff, displacing some much needed 175s for other routes (and here I cite crew familiarity as the main reason).
 

Rhydgaled

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The only feasible future for the Mark 2s is through wiring and use with 67s / Mark 3 DVTs (NOT DBSOs) on Holyhead to Cardiff, displacing some much needed 175s for other routes (and here I cite crew familiarity as the main reason).
Other than Gerald (via Wrexham) and an opposite working, in the short-term I would only suggest putting LHCS on Manchesters (either Llandudno or Carmarthen/Swansea/Milford Haven services) or Holyhead - Birminghams (and if you did that, you'd have to stop the Cambrians going to Birmingham).

I don't see why you have to use a 110/125mph capable mark3 DVT with no passenger carrying capacity with the mark2s when there are mark2 DBSOs around (albeit they are probably in need of refurbishment, but then the same could be said of the mark2s except the 6 in use). Mark3 DVTs and class 67s are more valuable to other operators. Using other locos, either top & tail using whatever method Arriva Trains Northern did with the same mark2s or making use of the mark2 DBSOs seems more sensible to me. However, if you don't want to have to have crew knowlage for two types of loco I guess you could use 67s with the mark2 DBSOs and give the DBSOs 67-compatable control systems.
 

tbtc

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Completely pointless as I don't think there's a run-round facility at Swansea
No run round at Swansea the only option would be for a loco to come out of the yard and attach to the rear of the train.
Exactly - much more time/space at the Swansea end (rather than dealing with conflicting movements at the Manchester end). Plus, to match demand, you'd go to Manchester in the morning and south in the afternoon.

If you are going to run loco-hauled (with all the complications/ expense that this means having four/more coaches. And if you are going to run four/more coach trains then that means the Manchester duties.

But the capacity problems at Piccadilly would be a nightmare to hunt locos around (and only allow Wales & Borders to use a few platforms), so you either need to loop it (like I suggested) or get some DVTs.
 

Penmorfa

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Getting the locos would be difficult yes, but the mark 2 stock is needed. In the long run I think Manchester - Swansea should go over to loco-hauled, unless you can convert 175 driving cars into centre cars by taking the cab off and replacing it with a through-corridor, to make 4 or 5-car 175s. Even then, some other route will have to go loco-hauled to provide replacments for the 175s that are turned into centre cars to lengthen others.
But in the long run there will be modern DMU's released by the spread of elecrification. Modern in the sense that they will have passenger operated doors and access for wheelchairs. Both of which are a no no for Mark 2's.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I don't see why you have to use a 110/125mph capable mark3 DVT with no passenger carrying capacity with the mark2s when there are mark2 DBSOs around (albeit they are probably in need of refurbishment, but then the same could be said of the mark2s except the 6 in use). Mark3 DVTs and class 67s are more valuable to other operators. Using other locos, either top & tail using whatever method Arriva Trains Northern did with the same mark2s or making use of the mark2 DBSOs seems more sensible to me. However, if you don't want to have to have crew knowlage for two types of loco I guess you could use 67s with the mark2 DBSOs and give the DBSOs 67-compatable control systems.
I don't think you have considered the implications of access for the disabled. My own station has just had X million pounds spent on a new footbridge with ramps and a lift for disabled passengers. You are proposing to make half the trains incapable of access by them. Do you honestly think that idea would go down well? Can you see the WAG investing in such trains?

this is from http://www.dft.gov.uk/topics/access/rail/rail-vehicles

As well as new rail vehicles, RVAR 2010 and the PRM TSI also apply to older rail vehicles (those introduced prior to 1999) when they undergo refurbishment.

So more mega bucks needing to be spent!
 

Rhydgaled

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Exactly - much more time/space at the Swansea end (rather than dealing with conflicting movements at the Manchester end). Plus, to match demand, you'd go to Manchester in the morning and south in the afternoon.

If you are going to run loco-hauled (with all the complications/ expense that this means having four/more coaches. And if you are going to run four/more coach trains then that means the Manchester duties.

But the capacity problems at Piccadilly would be a nightmare to hunt locos around (and only allow Wales & Borders to use a few platforms), so you either need to loop it (like I suggested) or get some DVTs.
You're talking sense for the Manchester end, the reason I said it was pointless is because you'd need DBSOs/DVTs at the Swansea end anyway (or you could have another loco attach at the other end in Swansea as Anthony suggested, but that needs an extra loco).

But in the long run there will be modern DMU's released by the spread of elecrification.
More 158s would help yes, but I doubt we can see any of them until 2015 at the earliest. 170/171/172 door arrangment is wrong for most ATW services except the ValleyLines, Swanline, Cardiff - Cheltenham and perhaps a Cardiff - Hereford/Shrewsbury all stations service if such a thing is started someday. Regardless, there will be events such as festivals where a long train will be needed as an extra. The 2 ex-WAG mark 2 sets would be great for that, but not sure ATW would keep some in reserve for that sort of thing if they weren't also acting as spares for a few more mark2 sets operating in day-to-day service.

Modern in the sense that they will have passenger operated doors and access for wheelchairs. Both of which are a no no for Mark 2's.
I think most trains have passenger operated doors, certainly the mark2s. You probablly mean power-operated doors. As for access for wheelchairs, I think that's much easier to solve than the lack of power-doors. DBSOs and BSOs both have double doors for luggage don't they, a wheelchair should fit through those. Providing an accessible toilet might be difficult though. As for WAG not funding it, they fund Gerald which isn't great for disabled passengers either, but an improved service for able-bodied passengers.

I don't think you have considered the implications of access for the disabled. My own station has just had X million pounds spent on a new footbridge with ramps and a lift for disabled passengers. You are proposing to make half the trains incapable of access by them.
It would be nowhere near half the trains, but yes I had overlooked that issue. When I was talking long-term about LHCS talking over Manchester - Swansea, that could be power-door stock. Right now though I'm more worried about getting the mark2 stock used to enable improved services in Wales in the 2014 - 2018/20 range. How old are the mark2s again, 2018/2020 is probably about right for retiring them. By then, we'll hopefully have enough DMUs, EMUs and more-modern LHCS (either new stock or power-door mark3s taken from Intercity 125s that are retired due to electrification) to run a network of usefully frequent services over all lines in Wales smoothly.
 

Penmorfa

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If the D of T says to Arriva you are getting 10 3 car 170's from Scotland then Arriva cannot say no - we don't like the door arrangment. After all veihicles like this, 185 and 350 series for example, already work longer distance services than those in Wales.

Silly me, of course power operated doors. To retrofit these to Mark 2's would be a very long and expensive process, not something that could be justified for such a small number of vehicles.

The DBSO's could be gutted to provide access for people with disabilities. But this would amount to a reduction in the number of vehicles which conform to disability regulations. There would be just one per train. I do not think this would be permitted or acceptable.

The last Mark 2's were built in 1975.
 

jones_bangor

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If the D of T says to Arriva you are getting 10 3 car 170's from Scotland then Arriva cannot say no - we don't like the door arrangment. After all veihicles like this, 185 and 350 series for example, already work longer distance services than those in Wales.

Silly me, of course power operated doors. To retrofit these to Mark 2's would be a very long and expensive process, not something that could be justified for such a small number of vehicles.

The DBSO's could be gutted to provide access for people with disabilities. But this would amount to a reduction in the number of vehicles which conform to disability regulations. There would be just one per train. I do not think this would be permitted or acceptable.

The last Mark 2's were built in 1975.

I can't see any investment in mark 2s, carriages or DBSOs. Ny principal objection to the DBSOs is on safety grounds, I just don't think you should contemplate bringing such stock back into service, never mind the economic case of "refurbishing" obsolete stock. As indicated, there'll be plenty of mark 3 stock cascaded down soon, which would be a better option full stop. I can't see the objection to utilising mark 3 DVT that would otherwise lay neglected at an MOD site either, be it at 75 ir 125 mph!
 

tbtc

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You're talking sense for the Manchester end, the reason I said it was pointless is because you'd need DBSOs/DVTs at the Swansea end anyway (or you could have another loco attach at the other end in Swansea as Anthony suggested, but that needs an extra loco)
At least that would only require one additional loco (in total), so you could have five diagrams on Swansea - Manchester run by six locos (with a "stepping back" arrangement at Swansea, where the arriving engine goes to sit in a siding afterwards then hauls the *next* arrival out - and so on, and so on).

Really, if you are going to go back to loco hauled then you need to do it in sufficient number to justify the expense, get some economies of scale.
 

Penmorfa

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I can't see any investment in mark 2s, carriages or DBSOs. Ny principal objection to the DBSOs is on safety grounds, I just don't think you should contemplate bringing such stock back into service, never mind the economic case of "refurbishing" obsolete stock. As indicated, there'll be plenty of mark 3 stock cascaded down soon, which would be a better option full stop. I can't see the objection to utilising mark 3 DVT that would otherwise lay neglected at an MOD site either, be it at 75 ir 125 mph!
Let's face it, Arriva's Mark 2's are destined for the scrapyard or a charter operator, hopefully the latter.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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I thought both Labour and Plaid had seen sense and are planning to install a not-for-profit operator when ATW's franchise finally ends.
It doesn't matter much what the WAG think. Wales & Borders is a DfT franchise.
That's not to say there might not be big changes in 2018, but it won't be a WAG-only decision.
 

MCR247

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It doesn't matter much what the WAG think. Wales & Borders is a DfT franchise.
That's not to say there might not be big changes in 2018, but it won't be a WAG-only decision.
If he is suggesting something like ScotRail, then Scotrail is still a DfT franchise?
 

LNW-GW Joint

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If he is suggesting something like ScotRail, then Scotrail is still a DfT franchise?
The Scottish Government lets the Scotrail franchise as it is fully devolved.
This doesn't include cross-border services (WCML/ECML) which are still with DfT.
The DfT retains some powers over Scotrail (eg safety), but in essence the Scots could redefine the Scotrail franchise and let it themselves.
They can also procure trains.

The Welsh Government manages the current Wales & Borders franchise for DfT, after the day-to-day control and funding was transferred in, I think 2007.
But DfT is still responsible for rail policy in Wales and England, and all cross-border services (which involves the majority of ATW services as well as VT/GW/XC).
It is not devolved in the same way as Scotland. They can't buy trains, for instance.
The WAG do have limited powers over local transport and have a local budget (hence the WAG services), but they can't rip up the W&B franchise and let it themselves.
There are plenty of stakeholders in the W&B franchise who live outside Wales.
 

Rhydgaled

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Silly me, of course power operated doors. To retrofit these to Mark 2's would be a very long and expensive process, not something that could be justified for such a small number of vehicles.
Agreed, power door mark2s is a no-no, as is operating them once GWML electrification displaces mark 3s from Intercity 125s.

What I'm suggesting is a stop-gap measure, with a few rakes of mark 2s allowing increased capacity, and a few new services, until mark3s are spared to take over. There might need to be a few tweaks to the BSOs or DBSOs to make them able to take wheelchairs, but for the 5/6/7 years they would be operating I doubt it would be worth installing full diability compliance measures. Just make the stock safe and comfortable, and get it into service as cheaply as possible.

As for DVTs, there are more stored than I realised so taking 6 more wouldn't be too much of an issue. However, hauling an extra 43 tonnes has got to cost a bit, and unlike DBSO doesn't add any more seating capcity.

5 sets on Manchester - Swansea would be nice, but where would the special event stock come from. I think 6 rakes of coaches could be made up, but to keep two rakes spare for special trains on event days you could probably only have 3 diagrams on a normal day.
 

tbtc

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5 sets on Manchester - Swansea would be nice, but where would the special event stock come from. I think 6 rakes of coaches could be made up, but to keep two rakes spare for special trains on event days you could probably only have 3 diagrams on a normal day.
How much is it worth keeping stock for "special occasions" (like the Six Nations matches), when it could be used on daily services though?
 

Greenback

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Perhaps Rhydgaled means there would only be 3 diagrams on event days, with other stock being substituted to allow for the LHCS to be used for the event?

Mind you, I still can't see that it's worth bringing in LHCS on a short term basis.
 

Rhydgaled

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How much is it worth keeping stock for "special occasions" (like the Six Nations matches), when it could be used on daily services though?
Don't know, but last year a festival filled the 2-car 175 I was traveling on at Pembrey & Burry Port, leaving potential passengers behind and many more at Llanelli. Knowing that ATW have many mark2s they weren't using made me angry, even though I had a seat, since I was on the train before the crowds boarded. It isn't just rugby, and even when it is rugby it isn't just Holyhead that could use an extra service.

I wonder what will happen to Saturday's class 158-worked Manchester - Milford Haven diagram from May 14th, since it is supposedly covering for ATW having 1 less 175 on a Saturday and all the serviceable 158s will probably be needed on the Cambrian - Birmingham - Holyhead curcuit.
 

jones_bangor

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It doesn't matter much what the WAG think. Wales & Borders is a DfT franchise.
That's not to say there might not be big changes in 2018, but it won't be a WAG-only decision.
It's true that the Wales & Borders franchise is not a Wales only service, and WG would have to "influence" the DfT at the very least.

If WG were to get "full control", then it could result in trains not venturing farther east than Chester and Shrewsbury, with Shrewsbury - Manchester and Chester - Manchester / Crewe taken on by other operators.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The Scottish Government lets the Scotrail franchise as it is fully devolved.
This doesn't include cross-border services (WCML/ECML) which are still with DfT.

There are plenty of stakeholders in the W&B franchise who live outside Wales.
There are quite a few Scotrail cross-border services, but I get your point.

2018 is beyond the next election(s), who knows who'll be in charge in Westminster and Cardiff then.
 
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