National Assembly for Wales

Enterprise and Business Committee


Inquiry into the future of the Wales and Borders Rail

Evidence from Brian Thomas  - WBF 38

Dear Dr Phipps,


I would like to take the opportunity to express my views on rail services in mid Wales.

There is a general perception that Aberystwyth is badly served  by public transport and that the road and rail infrastructure is in need of substantial improvement to bring it up to modern standards. I firmly believe that this is a major deterrent to attracting new businesses to the area.

The existing travel times are excessive, such as the journey from Aberystwyth to Cardiff taking 4 hours and 9 minutes; resulting in the equivalent of a full working day for a return journey alone.

The existing two hourly service to anywhere is not acceptable, even when connections are running smoothly. In practice when the train from London is late arriving in Birmingham and the Aberystwyth train has departed I have had to wait a further 2 hours at Birmingham. My daughter has experienced this on a couple of occasions when the last train has departed resulting in the journey being completed by bus or taxi.

It is quite ironic that whilst England plan to invest in high speed trains and electrification is planned for south Wales, mid Wales is still fighting for an hourly service on a single track system.

I would therefore suggest that an hourly service is long overdue and that the direct train in the early morning returning in the late evening {Aberystwyth to London], which did run in the seventies, should be reinstated.

Finally, further consideration needs to be given to the reopening of the line from Aberystwyth to Carmarthen.

There is no doubt in my mind that introducing the above measures would provide major economic and social benefits for the whole of mid Wales.

I look forward to seeing the outcome of the consultation in due course.




Brian Thomas