Fishguard to Cardiff

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tivoli

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Just back from Ireland. For a change came back Rosslare to Fishguard. Onward journey was by pacer, seemed totally inappropriate for the purpose with so much luggage to convey. Is this normal for this service?
 
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anthony263

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Not for the 10:57 from Cardiff normally a class 150 although a 158 has appeared at least once this week.

That said hopefully a class 158 or 175 will become more regular on the daytime boat train and I think a class 153 is used on the overnight service from Fishguard to Swansea.
 

TEW

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Pacers are probably better than 150s for luggage space, they actually have luggage racks and generally seem to have more room to put luggage.
 

Rhydgaled

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Last time I saw the boat train I belieive a 142 was operating it, though as has been said it is normally (and booked for, so I've been told) a class 150. Neither are at all appropriate for this, the most express service to and from Pembrokeshire. A class 158 would be ideal, better than anything else (except at busy times, when 2x 158 or a 3-car 175 (depending on how busy)), but a pair of 153s running in multiple would probably still be a vast improvement over the 150s (and occasional Pacers) that work it at the moment.
 

Gwenllian2001

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Imagine the impression gained by a first time visitor to Wales when seeing a Pacer masquerading as a boat train. It's just not good enough. We do not live in the 'Third World' but Arriva does its best to let us down.
 

tivoli

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Hadn't thought about first impression of Wales, though that is very true. Have been an advocate of SailRail, not sure I will push it on that route.
 

Rhydgaled

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To put it into context, how many people were using the service?

(before we get carried away and start demanding three coach 100mph stock etc)
Who said three coach 100mph stock is needed? The ideal unit, most of the time, would be a 2-car 90mph class 158. I did mention using a 3-car 175 at busy times, but only at busy times. Even a pair of 153s working the service in multiple would be a damn sight better than the inner-suburban 150s and Pacers this regional express service is burdened with at the moment. I have seen the 150 filled (can't remember if there were one or two standing) so a single 153 is unlikely to be enough unfortunatly.

According to this, the extra length of a 158 provides 18 more seats than a refurbished 150, so a 158 should cope most of the time.
 
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tbtc

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lyndhurst25

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In the not-too-distant past the boat trains to Fishguard, Holyhead and Stranraer used to include sleeping cars. A bit of a comedown from a Mk3 sleeper to a Pacer.
 

Greenback

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Imagine the impression gained by a first time visitor to Wales when seeing a Pacer masquerading as a boat train. It's just not good enough. We do not live in the 'Third World' but Arriva does its best to let us down.
I can' thelp but feel that the visitor to Wales will be more impressed by the facilities at Fishguard Harbour than they would have been at Rosslare.

Regardless of the type of stock used, it is at least a train, whihc is often more than you can expect to see on the other side. And if there is a rail connection at all for your journey, you can now also enjoy a lovely walk aroudn the edge of a massive car park before reaching the charming open air station.

ATW does its best with the stock it has. If that means an occasional Pacer, so be it. Whenever I have caught the night train it has been a 153 or a 150.
 

anthony263

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I think the 23:45 Swansea - Fishguard Hbr is formed of the stock which arrives from Pembroke Dock at around 23:25 and yes the majority of the time is normally formed of a class 153 or maybe two if they expect the service to be busy.
 

Greenback

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I think the 23:45 Swansea - Fishguard Hbr is formed of the stock which arrives from Pembroke Dock at around 23:25 and yes the majority of the time is normally formed of a class 153 or maybe two if they expect the service to be busy.
Yes, that is correct. If there is a Pacer on the Dock services, which sometimes happens during school holidays to increase capacity, it will, as a rather unintended consequence, sometimes form the 'boat train'!
 

D1009

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In the not-too-distant past the boat trains to Fishguard, Holyhead and Stranraer used to include sleeping cars. A bit of a comedown from a Mk3 sleeper to a Pacer.
I wasn't aware Mk3 sleepers had ever worked to Fishguard ? There were HSTs, but that was before the budget airlines took away most of the traffic.
 

Greenback

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I wasn't aware Mk3 sleepers had ever worked to Fishguard ? There were HSTs, but that was before the budget airlines took away most of the traffic.
I don't think they did. The Milford Haven sleeper service, which was the last remnant of those that served West Wales, was withdrawn prior to the Mark 3's entering service. If memory serves, this was back in 1982.
 

Rhydgaled

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In the not-too-distant past the boat trains to Fishguard, Holyhead and Stranraer used to include sleeping cars. A bit of a comedown from a Mk3 sleeper to a Pacer.
It probablly wouldn't be practical to add a sleeper car to one of the London - Swansea services, but if it could be done I'd suggest doing that, with a buffet car, the sleeper coach and 1 or 2 day cars being detached at Swansea to form the night boat train to Fishguard. At Fishguard, the buffet and sleeper car would be left (the platform line would need to be made permissive so daytime trains could access it) and the day cars would be attached to another sleeper+buffet pairs, worked back to Swansea and inserted into the London train.

That would make the night boat train useful for travel to/from north Pembs, arriving from London you could sleep til 8am and have breakfast from the buffet car. In the evening, you could dine in the buffet car and wake up coasting along the GWML towards Paddington.

The biggest problem would be re-marshalling the train into and out of normal day service formation at the London end, though to fit the day formation neatly it would probably be two FOs, a sleeper vehicle and a 1st class buffet that end up it Fishguard which isn't exactly sensible.
 

EltonRoad

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Shame that Fishguard lost its summer HST service to Paddington. And yet Pembroke Dock still sees two HSTs on summer Saturdays through to Paddington. My experience of using them (admittedly only once) was that it was nearly empty west of Tenby. Why not send one to/from Fishguard instead?
 

lyndhurst25

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I wasn't aware Mk3 sleepers had ever worked to Fishguard ? There were HSTs, but that was before the budget airlines took away most of the traffic.
Was it Mk1 Sleepers to Fishguard then? I wasn't sure the exact date when the service was withdrawn. I know they used Mk3s to Holyhead towards the end of the service (late 1980s/early 1990s?). Even so a Mk1 Sleeper beats a Pacer! I can't see a Sleeper boat train service making any money nowadays given that through seated trains from London to Fisguard / Stranraer no longer run.
 

anthony263

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Shame that Fishguard lost its summer HST service to Paddington. And yet Pembroke Dock still sees two HSTs on summer Saturdays through to Paddington. My experience of using them (admittedly only once) was that it was nearly empty west of Tenby. Why not send one to/from Fishguard instead?

Dont the local authorities pay a subsidy for the hst to run to Pembroke Dock on summer saturdays?.

I certainly agree that the trains are nearly empty west of Tenby having done the hst to Pembroke dock on a number of occasions as have a number of others on this forum who will most likely be able to share their experiences.

I wouldnt mind seeing the daytime boat train worked by a hst in the summer months perhaps by extending one of the trains which terminates at Cardiff Central to run via the Swansea district line if FGW had the rolling stock available.

That said I wouldnt mind a summer saturday loco hauled service perhaps using one of the WAG1 lcoo hauled rakes which is they use a dvt should not have any problems reversing at Carmarthen.
 

D1009

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Was it Mk1 Sleepers to Fishguard then? I wasn't sure the exact date when the service was withdrawn. I know they used Mk3s to Holyhead towards the end of the service (late 1980s/early 1990s?). Even so a Mk1 Sleeper beats a Pacer! I can't see a Sleeper boat train service making any money nowadays given that through seated trains from London to Fisguard / Stranraer no longer run.
My recollection dates back to the early 1970s (class 52 era) and there were no sleepers to Fishguard. There were 2 sleeper services to Milford Haven each way, one of which went via Gloucester, but as Greenback said they were a casualty of the withdrawal of the Mk1 sleeper fleet. If there were ever sleepers to Fishguard they didn't last into the 1970s
 

Greenback

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Shame that Fishguard lost its summer HST service to Paddington. And yet Pembroke Dock still sees two HSTs on summer Saturdays through to Paddington. My experience of using them (admittedly only once) was that it was nearly empty west of Tenby. Why not send one to/from Fishguard instead?
There still seems to be a good market of rail travellers to and from Saundersfoot and Tenby. I am not sure the same can be said for Fishguard these days. Even the most optimistic person must admi that the rail sea market has markedly declined over the last 10-15 years.

My recollection dates back to the early 1970s (class 52 era) and there were no sleepers to Fishguard. There were 2 sleeper services to Milford Haven each way, one of which went via Gloucester, but as Greenback said they were a casualty of the withdrawal of the Mk1 sleeper fleet. If there were ever sleepers to Fishguard they didn't last into the 1970s
I don't know if there were ever any sleepers to Fishguard. The ferries have remained quite consistent in their timetable down the eyars, with boats arriving and departing in the middle of the night. I'm not sure whether people would ever have sen the point of having a berth if they can only access it until 0130, or from 0200.

There is an excellent book on the histroy of the railways of Pembrokeshire, but I can't remember if there was any mention of sleeper services to Fishguard in it.
 

Squaddie

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There still seems to be a good market of rail travellers to and from Saundersfoot and Tenby. I am not sure the same can be said for Fishguard these days. Even the most optimistic person must admit that the rail sea market has markedly declined over the last 10-15 years.
Rail/sea is never going to be able to compete with the low cost airlines on price, so it should be marketing itself as the quality alternative. And that means operating the route with comfortable rolling stock, not Pacers (which are even less comfortable than a Ryanair flight, for several times the price).

If there were a reliable first-class service to and from Fishguard Harbour I'd gladly travel to the Irish Republic that way, almost regardless of cost. But I know that the trains are going to be overcrowded, noisy and uncomfortable and so my money goes into Cityjet's pockets instead.
 

Greenback

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Rail/sea is never going to be able to compete with the low cost airlines on price, so it should be marketing itself as the quality alternative. And that means operating the route with comfortable rolling stock, not Pacers (which are even less comfortable than a Ryanair flight, for several times the price).

If there were a reliable first-class service to and from Fishguard Harbour I'd gladly travel to the Irish Republic that way, almost regardless of cost. But I know that the trains are going to be overcrowded, noisy and uncomfortable and so my money goes into Cityjet's pockets instead.
That might be a feasible strategy, but to work effectively it would require co-operation between ATW, Stena and IE. How many peopel would pay a premium for a comfortable service on one side of the Irish Sea, if there were not similar facilities on the sea crossing and at the other end of the journey?
 
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