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TFW 2024 Timetable consultation.

IslandLine101

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If they pull through on the 5-car Marches services, there is a decent amount of revenue that will switch back to rail that has been put off even since the late Arriva days. That should help
 
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Why is the VoG line 2tph being deferred again? Doesn't seem like it should be very difficult to achieve and this deferment is not helping the WG owned Cardiff Airport's accessibility.
 

ExpressTrain

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Reading through the pdf suggests that the first train of the day from Shrewsbury- Aberystwyth would be changed start at Welshpool. What’s the rationale behind that one?
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Reading through the pdf suggests that the first train of the day from Shrewsbury- Aberystwyth would be changed start at Welshpool. What’s the rationale behind that one?
Presumably the ECS will come from Mach, as if it comes from Shrewsbury why not put it into service?
It probably saves a unit/crew somewhere.
 

craigybagel

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Reading through the pdf suggests that the first train of the day from Shrewsbury- Aberystwyth would be changed start at Welshpool. What’s the rationale behind that one?

Presumably the ECS will come from Mach, as if it comes from Shrewsbury why not put it into service?
It probably saves a unit/crew somewhere.
At the moment the unit for the first Shrewsbury - Aberystwyth actually stables in Crewe overnight. It forms the 0519 Crewe - Shrewsbury local before going down the Cambrian, so some degree of shuffling would be required there.

Using a Mach based set running ECS to Welshpool would save on the taxi fare for the driver however - who at present is taxied every morning from Mach to Shrewsbury.
 

Bletchleyite

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Other than the extremes-of-day ones which I can see the sense in if nobody uses them, what's the logic in dropping the mid afternoon Pwllheli round trip? Is it to create a path for something else e.g. driver training on 197s?
 

Envoy

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To not fulfil their promise of 2 trains an hour on the Vale of Glamorgan Coast Line is unforgivable. Not only is a short cut between Barry & Bridgend but also the growing population in Llantwit Major and St.Athan are adding to the overloaded roads such as the A48 through St,. Nicholas and the slow going A4050 between Barry and Culverhouse Cross.

This must be the final nail in the coffin of the Welsh Government owned Cardiff Airport. The hourly Adventure Bus service (304) has been scrapped - well it was useless as it took 1 hour 50 minutes to get from airport to city centre. So, the train is the only public transport link to the airport with the bus shuttle for the 2 miles from Rhoose station to the terminal. The train also goes to Bridgend for mainline services to west Wales - this providing the quickest route to/from Barry and places west of Bridgend.
 
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Western 52

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The lack of improvement for the Swanline stations is a classic missed opportunity. There is considerable population along the Port Talbot to Llanelli section, and should really merit a frequent stopping service.

I've not checked in detail yet, but there seem to be fewer calls at Kidwelly and Ferryside too. The cuts between Swansea and Carmarthen will not encourage use of public transport, another opportunity missed, especially following reduction of the X11 bus service.
 
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So the 05:07 to Barmouth and it’s return at 06:45 are gone all together.

The 8:52 to Pwllheli and it’s return will go between December and March.

The last from pwllheli at 20:26 will be retimed to about 7:30 and will not run at all December to March.
The last to Pwllheli at 21:47 will be retimed (earlier but can’t remember exact time) and will not run December - March.

As for the tourism, that’s very summer based and they have stated they will run a 2nd 4car service each day in the summer time.
My concern is that some of the cutbacks will deter the local market. For example, under the current proposals, between December and March, the last southbound departure from Pwllheli will be at 17:36, a time likely too early for many workers - looking at the excellent 2D53 site, the earliest winter departure in the 60's and 70's was almost an hour later at 18:30.
 

Jez

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This is all unsurprising
Not surprising at all really. Although the cuts to some Swansea-Cardiff services did surprise me slightly.

Have you noticed the 0604 Carmarthen to Manchester misses out Gowerton, Swansea and Neath so obviously goes via the district line . Another Swansea/Neath direct service to Manchester lost. Id generally go to Port Talbot for that anyway but its not going to be as good for Swansea and Neath passengers having to change trains.

The lack of improvement for the Swanline stations is a classic missed opportunity. There is considerable population along the Port Talbot to Llanelli section, and should really merit a frequent stopping service.
Totally agree. As someone living within walking distance of a Swanline station id use it a lot more with an hourly service. There will be a far better service in the morning and evening which is an improvement but not during the daytime. When you think the likes of Pencoed will be getting 3 trains per 2 hours. Also Swanline is ignored totally on a Sunday.
 

anthony263

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Not surprising at all really. Although the cuts to some Swansea-Cardiff services did surprise me slightly.

Have you noticed the 0604 Carmarthen to Manchester misses out Gowerton, Swansea and Neath so obviously goes via the district line . Another Swansea/Neath direct service to Manchester lost. Id generally go to Port Talbot for that anyway but its not going to be as good for Swansea and Neath passengers having to change trains.


Totally agree. As someone living within walking distance of a Swanline station id use it a lot more with an hourly service. There will be a far better service in the morning and evening which is an improvement but not during the daytime. When you think the likes of Pencoed will be getting 3 trains per 2 hours. Also Swanline is ignored totally on a Sunday.
I don't see how swanline justifys an hourly evening service yet only a 2 hourly daytime service. At least we get a 2330 service from Swansea.

The extra stops at Pencoed and Pontyclun would definitely boost passenger numbers especially all the developments. Porthcawl and Pyle due to see major redevelopment over the next few years.

We going to see big issues on Swanline with overcrowding especially with most now running to/from Pembroke Dock. What we need is an extra unit to fill in the gap between the 2 hourly Pembroke Dock services.
 

TT-ONR-NRN

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A lot of key evening West Wales peak services from Cardiff are going to really struggle with 2 cars.
 

Anonymous10

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A lot of key evening West Wales peak services from Cardiff are going to really struggle with 2 cars.
I thought the same the 1900 from Cardiff is always busy too being the last train to get you to Fishguard and Pembroke Dock. Also most the milford trains at this time. Personally an hourly peak would also be more useful than the 2 extra services the milford line will get.
 

Jez

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I notice the Swanline is often 2 minutes behind the GWR leaving Swansea - is that even possible, i thought the headway out of Swansea was 4 or 5 minutes.

I hope by December the Swanline will all be booked for 197s, the 153s wont have a hope of keeping to the times I dont think.

The 2330 departure from Swansea will be very welcome indeed for many particularly on a Friday and Saturday night.
 

anthony263

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I notice the Swanline is often 2 minutes behind the GWR leaving Swansea - is that even possible, i thought the headway out of Swansea was 4 or 5 minutes.

I hope by December the Swanline will all be booked for 197s, the 153s wont have a hope of keeping to the times I dont think.

The 2330 departure from Swansea will be very welcome indeed for many particularly on a Friday and Saturday night.
I think it is possible and yes that 2330 is very welcome. Just need swanline running hourly through the day now .

Definitely no chance with the class 153s
 

Phil from Mon

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At the other end of Wales travelling Sunday 14 from Cardiff to Bangor the 0940 arrives Crewe 1227, and the advertised connection is about an hour later. BUT at 1227 there is a train leaving P10 for Bangor, which then sits 10 minutes at Chester. Why on earth could it not leave Crewe that 10 minutes later and save an hour on the journey?
 

Anonymous10

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At the other end of Wales travelling Sunday 14 from Cardiff to Bangor the 0940 arrives Crewe 1227, and the advertised connection is about an hour later. BUT at 1227 there is a train leaving P10 for Bangor, which then sits 10 minutes at Chester. Why on earth could it not leave Crewe that 10 minutes later and save an hour on the journey?
Pathing possibly? Both Crewe and Chester are very busy stations.
 

Topological

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At the other end of Wales travelling Sunday 14 from Cardiff to Bangor the 0940 arrives Crewe 1227, and the advertised connection is about an hour later. BUT at 1227 there is a train leaving P10 for Bangor, which then sits 10 minutes at Chester. Why on earth could it not leave Crewe that 10 minutes later and save an hour on the journey?
At least that is not a case of them splitting a service and then not flexing either half to enable the connection.

On paper, you would think getting out towards Chester is easy enough from Crewe. At Chester there may be some pathing issues, but 10 minutes seems a lot. Presumably, there are also pathing allowances in the advertised times between Crewe and Chester too.
 

Bikeman78

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The PDF says "There is no change proposed to today's 45-minute timetable. Introducing two trains per hour is deferred."
I think there is a clash with a freight path? Plus, going half hourly brings back the problem of trying to do a round trip in 120 minutes, unless they run it with five units.
 

Lurcheroo

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I think there is a clash with a freight path? Plus, going half hourly brings back the problem of trying to do a round trip in 120 minutes, unless they run it with five units.
The initial 2 trains per hour was based upon the sectional running times of class 153’s and the second service would be limited stop.
Since then it is planned to run them with class 230’s which have superior performance compared to the 153’s. (we won’t go into any discussion on those units as it’s way off topic and there is a relevant thread). Further to that more freight paths for the cement works have been secured and the infrastructure has been declared congested.
There is a report by Network rail here:

In short: to allow a 30 minute service interval (2 trains per hour) there would need to be a new entrance to the cement works and intermediate block signals would be required along the line.

Perhaps with that there could be some line speed improvements to help reduce the strain on the round trip time.

Having 5diagrams wouldn’t be viable as there are only 5 230 units.
 

Phil from Mon

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Pathing possibly? Both Crewe and Chester are very busy stations.

At least that is not a case of them splitting a service and then not flexing either half to enable the connection.

On paper, you would think getting out towards Chester is easy enough from Crewe. At Chester there may be some pathing issues, but 10 minutes seems a lot. Presumably, there are also pathing allowances in the advertised times between Crewe and Chester too.
Yes, getting out of P10 to Chester should be simple. Don’t think Chester itself is that busy on a Sunday, and there was very little else going along the coast. I’m sure someone more knowledgeable will have the reason for this.
 

Dai Corner

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Yes, getting out of P10 to Chester should be simple. Don’t think Chester itself is that busy on a Sunday, and there was very little else going along the coast. I’m sure someone more knowledgeable will have the reason for this.
It was so simple yesterday that the train arrived at Chester 6 minutes early by the public timetable. Being timed for a 75mph sprinter but formed of a Cl 197 probably helped.

 

Krokodil

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It was so simple yesterday that the train arrived at Chester 6 minutes early by the public timetable. Being timed for a 75mph sprinter but formed of a Cl 197 probably helped.

Probably more to do with the fact that it's been given 23½ minutes to do a section that even a 153 could do in 20.

Looking at it, I can't see any conflicts. The departure time at Chester reflects the inbound connection from Manchester. I suspect that the only reason that it hasn't been changed is that no one has thought to do it. The Sunday timetable is an ancient relic anyway.
 

Starmill

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Why is the VoG line 2tph being deferred again? Doesn't seem like it should be very difficult to achieve and this deferment is not helping the WG owned Cardiff Airport's accessibility.
It's not difficult to achieve, but there's barely anyone using Cardiff Airport.

Other than the extremes-of-day ones which I can see the sense in if nobody uses them, what's the logic in dropping the mid afternoon Pwllheli round trip? Is it to create a path for something else e.g. driver training on 197s?
Same as everything: money. The cost of prodiving the train crew has increased much faster than inflation after their restructure. Clearly the Cambrian Coast was the easier target in this regard.

My concern is that some of the cutbacks will deter the local market. For example, under the current proposals, between December and March, the last southbound departure from Pwllheli will be at 17:36, a time likely too early for many workers - looking at the excellent 2D53 site, the earliest winter departure in the 60's and 70's was almost an hour later at 18:30.
The local market will all but dry up in the winter. Look at the Far North for example, almost no local journey is feasible.

It's the same pressures that DfT operators have faced. TfW is no different, although they can make their own choices on service cuts.
TfW is quite different, hiring all those extra staff as part of the rail services staff restructure has pushed up costs well ahead of inflation. Also TfW train drivers pay deal was accepted unlike the English operators (except SWR) who are still paying salaries at 2019 (or whenever their last deal expired) levels.
 
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Lurcheroo

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Other than the extremes-of-day ones which I can see the sense in if nobody uses them, what's the logic in dropping the mid afternoon Pwllheli round trip? Is it to create a path for something else e.g. driver training on 197s
Sorry Bletchleyite, I missed this the other day. The 8:52am service and return are reasonably well used ones even during winter. The word on the street at TFW is that there is expected to be a shortage of units available and they’re needing to balance out unit allocations.
Additional drivers have been hired, we’re now at an allocation of 51 drivers and there’s a few more to train this year and we only require 48, this is to allow for 197 training. Once it’s done natural wastage will bring the number back to 48.

Same as everything: money. The cost of prodiving the train crew has increased much faster than inflation after their restructure. Clearly the Coast was the easier target in this regard.

TfW is quite different, hiring all those extra staff as part of the rail services staff restructure has pushed up costs well ahead of inflation.
Do you have a link to any data for that? I’d be intrigued to have a browse.
 

Starmill

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Do you have a link to any data for that? I’d be intrigued to have a browse.
Sadly there's nothing useful in the public domain, at least not yet.

The word on the street at TFW is that there is expected to be a shortage of units available and they’re needing to balance out unit allocations.
It's going to be quite a challenge to release any extra fleet to work to Pwllheli when a full hourly service between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury is running, so the lost coastal services will probably never be coming back.
 

Lurcheroo

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Sadly there's nothing useful in the public domain, at least not yet.
Fair enough!
I’d have thought once Sundays are in the working week for drivers (this June) and guards (next May/June ish time) TFW would be ‘quids in’ based on the overtime that currently gets paid for Sundays.
Was intrigued to see how the numbers looked, guess we shall leave it to imagination for now then haha.

It's going to be quite a challenge to release any extra fleet to work to Pwllheli when a full hourly service between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury is running, so the lost coastal services will probably never be coming back.
What I can’t understand is that currently they are saying the hourly service will only run March - September from May 2026 and all the coast services will run March - December so they’re saying they will have enough units for that during the summer. So where are those units during the winter ?
 

Starmill

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Fair enough!
I’d have thought once Sundays are in the working week for drivers (this June) and guards (next May/June ish time) TFW would be ‘quids in’ based on the overtime that currently gets paid for Sundays.
Was intrigued to see how the numbers looked, guess we shall leave it to imagination for now then haha.
I think a lot of that will depend on the long term trend in terms of productivity. As Krokodil notes above the Sunday timetable is a relic and doesn't work that well for crew diagram efficiency or for commercial purposes. Once there's been a Sunday rewrite this 'investment' in training and crew numbers could pay big dividends, but that's going to take a few more years to work through, while the spending has already happened / is happening now.

What I can’t understand is that currently they are saying the hourly service will only run March - September from May 2026 and all the coast services will run March - December so they’re saying they will have enough units for that during the summer. So where are those units during the winter ?
Same place the units for the four cars go when they're not used on the Pwllheli services, I guess. Either they're covering for constant shortages in other parts of Wales and Borders, or they weren't reliably available in the first place.

I do hope that some of these crewing changes are remedied though and the winter service isn't cut back to being as useless as Wick gets. We will see...
 

Lurcheroo

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I think a lot of that will depend on the long term trend in terms of productivity. As Krokodil notes above the Sunday timetable is a relic and doesn't work that well for crew diagram efficiency or for commercial purposes. Once there's been a Sunday rewrite this 'investment' in training and crew numbers could pay big dividends, but that's going to take a few more years to work through, while the spending has already happened / is happening now.


Same place the units for the four cars go when they're not used on the Pwllheli services, I guess. Either they're covering for constant shortages in other parts of Wales and Borders, or they weren't reliably available in the first place.

I do hope that some of these crewing changes are remedied though and the winter service isn't cut back to being as useless as Wick gets. We will see...
Hmm yeah, that’s an interesting point. I’ve only been knocking about the railway a few years so never seen a different Sunday timetable. My hope had been that by us brining Sundays in the week, we would see a better Sunday timetable formed eventually.
We will see if they ever make the mist out of it or not.

I hope so too, I think the current service really is the bare minimum.
I don’t expect the Barmouth to ever come back and the re-timing of the 2 late services I think is fine, but not running them for 3 months is bonkers in my opinion.
I’ve replied to the consultation and I have written direct to James Price.
I’ve done it once before and had a great response, so we will see if I get one back this time.
 

ainsworth74

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Just for information I've uploaded a combined copy of the timetable spreadsheets to the opening post just for posterity when they're inevitably taken down from TfWs website.
 

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