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Author Topic: Heart of Wales - mostly closed until end of August 2020  (Read 1145 times)
grahame
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« on: July 06, 2020, 08:22:23 am »

From National Rail Service Disruptions

Quote
Structural damage to the bridge between Pontarddulais and Hendy Junction means it is unsafe for trains to pass over the bridge.

Trains are unable to run between Llandrindod and Llanelli until repairs are complete. This may take up to 8 weeks. Road transport will be provided between Llanelli and Llandrindod.

Buses will run:
From Llanelli, calling at all stations to Llandrindod then continue to Shrewsbury, setting down at intermediate stations as required.
From Llandrindod to Swansea

Now - forgive my geography but why are trains unable to run between Llandrindod and Llandeilo?  As I recall, there are loops at Between Craven Arms and Llanelli at Llandrindod, Llanwrtyd and Llandeilo, and Pontardulais is between Llandeilo and Llanelli.    Could it be ... not that trains are unable to run as far as Llandeilo from the Shrewsbury / Craven Arms end, but that Transport for Wales are choosing not to do so?

This in addition to this BBC article

Quote
Several Welsh stations are to lose train services for a "short time" because their platforms have raised social distancing concerns.

They are either too short or too curved to allow the opening of two train doors, Transport for Wales (TfW) said.
Services will no longer stop at Llanfairpwll and Valley on Anglesey, Conwy, Gilfach Fargoed in Caerphilly county or Sugar Loaf in Powys.

Err ... don't think so at Llanfairpwll at least - nice straight platform, plenty long enough to open at least 2 doors on each of 2 carriages, and perhaps more - see pictures at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llanfairpwll_railway_station .

I'm getting the distinct feeling of porkies (or does that translate to sheepies) from Transport for Wales.  Changes for their operational convenience disguised under excuses which let them lay the blame elsewhere?
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bobm
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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2020, 08:47:43 am »

Err ... don't think so at Llanfairpwll at least - nice straight platform, plenty long enough to open at least 2 doors on each of 2 carriages, and perhaps more - see pictures at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llanfairpwll_railway_station .

Certainly looked ok in 2014

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phile
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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2020, 09:48:03 am »

From National Rail Service Disruptions

Quote
Structural damage to the bridge between Pontarddulais and Hendy Junction means it is unsafe for trains to pass over the bridge.

Trains are unable to run between Llandrindod and Llanelli until repairs are complete. This may take up to 8 weeks. Road transport will be provided between Llanelli and Llandrindod.

Buses will run:
From Llanelli, calling at all stations to Llandrindod then continue to Shrewsbury, setting down at intermediate stations as required.
From Llandrindod to Swansea

Now - forgive my geography but why are trains unable to run between Llandrindod and Llandeilo?  As I recall, there are loops at Between Craven Arms and Llanelli at Llandrindod, Llanwrtyd and Llandeilo, and Pontardulais is between Llandeilo and Llanelli.    Could it be ... not that trains are unable to run as far as Llandeilo from the Shrewsbury / Craven Arms end, but that Transport for Wales are choosing not to do so?

This in addition to this BBC article

Quote
Several Welsh stations are to lose train services for a "short time" because their platforms have raised social distancing concerns.

They are either too short or too curved to allow the opening of two train doors, Transport for Wales (TfW) said.
Services will no longer stop at Llanfairpwll and Valley on Anglesey, Conwy, Gilfach Fargoed in Caerphilly county or Sugar Loaf in Powys.

Err ... don't think so at Llanfairpwll at least - nice straight platform, plenty long enough to open at least 2 doors on each of 2 carriages, and perhaps more - see pictures at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llanfairpwll_railway_station .

I'm getting the distinct feeling of porkies (or does that translate to sheepies) from Transport for Wales.  Changes for their operational convenience disguised under excuses which let them lay the blame elsewhere?

There is a reduced COVID service on the Heart of Wales Line at the moment (Sunday service) and the rwo trains in each direcrion which are running are both scheduled to change over crews with each other so it makes sense for the Shrewsbury crews from the North work to Llandod and return with the same unit.    The Carmarthen crews at the southern end would have to taxied past the block to Llandeilo or Pantyffynnon but wouldn't have a unit to work  with.
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2020, 10:10:58 am »

There is a reduced COVID service on the Heart of Wales Line at the moment (Sunday service) and the rwo trains in each direcrion which are running are both scheduled to change over crews with each other so it makes sense for the Shrewsbury crews from the North work to Llandod and return with the same unit.    The Carmarthen crews at the southern end would have to taxied past the block to Llandeilo or Pantyffynnon but wouldn't have a unit to work  with.

So as I suggested, it's not that they are unable to run trains over the 40 miles from Llandrindod to Llandeilo - it's that it's operationally convenient for them not to do so.  Porkie of a reason to passengers who, after all, know no better.

P.S. Why taxied?  Do train crew not lower themselves to using rail replacement buses  Grin

P.P.S. You get a unit onto the line from the Shrewsbury end ... and as you're back to through services from Shrewsbury to Llandeilo it changes over all the time anyway / no isolated unit away from base.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2020, 10:28:45 am by grahame » Logged

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phile
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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2020, 10:29:28 am »

There is a reduced COVID service on the Heart of Wales Line at the moment (Sunday service) and the rwo trains in each direcrion which are running are both scheduled to change over crews with each other so it makes sense for the Shrewsbury crews from the North work to Llandod and return with the same unit.    The Carmarthen crews at the southern end would have to taxied past the block to Llandeilo or Pantyffynnon but wouldn't have a unit to work  with.

So as I suggested, it's not that they are unable to run trains over the 40 miles from Llandrindod to Llandeilo - it's that it's operationally convenient for them not to do so.

P.S. Why taxied?  Do train crew not lower themselves to using rail replacement buses  Grin

P.P.S. You get a unit onto the line from the Shrewsbury end ... and as you're back to through services from Shrewsbury to Llandeilo it changes over all the time anyway / no isolated unit away from base.

Too easy.     Probably because passenger travel would be very light anyway in the current climate.
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phile
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2020, 09:08:48 pm »

NRE and TFW have updated info to say line closed only until close of play August 3rd.    Had trains run beyond Llandrindod Wells they would continue beyond Llandeilo to Pantyffynnon.
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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2020, 10:47:26 am »

TFW are now saying in their Journey Check that trains will not run at the southern end due to safe protection of staff in accordance with COVID-19 legislation but not explained in depth.    It could possibly be due to the transportation of Carmarthen crews by road and social distancing.
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2020, 04:19:45 am »

From County Times

Quote
A railway line connecting two mid Wales towns has re-opened.

Train journeys along the Heart of Wales will now start and terminate at Llanwrtyd Wells instead of Llandrindod Wells.

Transport for Wales says replacement bus services will run between Llanwrtyd Wells and Llanelli until August 3 while work is carried out to fix a damaged bridge.

Worn timbers on a rail-over-river bridge at Pontarddulais was found to be unsafe, and the railway line will remain closed between Hendy Junction and Pontarddulais until all safety repairs are completed.

Sometimes - and this is one - there is much to learn from the comments:

Quote
JimMorris 13th July 12:17 pm: That is all well and good but at the moment the service to Shrewsbury is laughable.

For example, I live in Knighton my earlies train to Llandrindod is 12.06 with a return at either 13.52 or 18.01,that isn't too bad but my earliest train to Shrewsbury is 14.30 which gets into Shrewsbury at 15.22 and latest return from Shrewsbury is 15.26 meaning only 4 minutes in Shrewsbury!! Meaning that any journey by public transport to Shrewsbury for hospital appointments etc. is virtually impossible. Surely transport for Wales could have looked at the situation and planned it better, a lot of people on the Heart of Wales line are reliant on this service as it is there only means of public transport to Shrwsbury. They have two carriages on the journey and I know for a fact that one day last week there were just THREE people on the train from Shrewsbury to Knighton
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phile
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« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2020, 09:40:18 am »

From County Times

Quote
A railway line connecting two mid Wales towns has re-opened.

Train journeys along the Heart of Wales will now start and terminate at Llanwrtyd Wells instead of Llandrindod Wells.

Transport for Wales says replacement bus services will run between Llanwrtyd Wells and Llanelli until August 3 while work is carried out to fix a damaged bridge.

Worn timbers on a rail-over-river bridge at Pontarddulais was found to be unsafe, and the railway line will remain closed between Hendy Junction and Pontarddulais until all safety repairs are completed.

Sometimes - and this is one - there is much to learn from the comments:

Quote
JimMorris 13th July 12:17 pm: That is all well and good but at the moment the service to Shrewsbury is laughable.

For example, I live in Knighton my earlies train to Llandrindod is 12.06 with a return at either 13.52 or 18.01,that isn't too bad but my earliest train to Shrewsbury is 14.30 which gets into Shrewsbury at 15.22 and latest return from Shrewsbury is 15.26 meaning only 4 minutes in Shrewsbury!! Meaning that any journey by public transport to Shrewsbury for hospital appointments etc. is virtually impossible. Surely transport for Wales could have looked at the situation and planned it better, a lot of people on the Heart of Wales line are reliant on this service as it is there only means of public transport to Shrwsbury. They have two carriages on the journey and I know for a fact that one day last week there were just THREE people on the train from Shrewsbury to Knighton

TFW were operating a Sunday Timetable over the route due to COVID Timetable alterations.. Since then the bridge closed and they have now adjusted it further to enable trains to run from Shrewsbury to Llanwrtyd and back.    It is a difficult route to time trains over because of the long single line sections.    TFW have claimed the trains are for Essential Travel only rather than for the use of the general public,  something which has provoked much criticism.
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grahame
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« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2020, 01:17:35 pm »

It is a difficult route to time trains over because of the long single line sections.

Indeed.   However, if you just have a single train shuttling up and down, there's little risk of it conflicting with itself on the long single line section.


Quote
TFW have claimed the trains are for Essential Travel only rather than for the use of the general public,  something which has provoked much criticism.

Not sure how ANY essential journeys either are met by 4 minutes in Shrewsbury.

I can't help wondering if much of the criticism would be allayed if the train ran an earlier round trip ... giving 4 hours for essential business in Shrewsbury, 4 or 8 hours in Llanwrtyd, 5 or 9 hours in Llandrindod.
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phile
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« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2020, 04:52:25 pm »

It is a difficult route to time trains over because of the long single line sections.

Indeed.   However, if you just have a single train shuttling up and down, there's little risk of it conflicting with itself on the long single line section.


Quote
TFW have claimed the trains are for Essential Travel only rather than for the use of the general public,  something which has provoked much criticism.

Not sure how ANY essential journeys either are met by 4 minutes in Shrewsbury.

I can't help wondering if much of the criticism would be allayed if the train ran an earlier round trip ... giving 4 hours for essential business in Shrewsbury, 4 or 8 hours in Llanwrtyd, 5 or 9 hours in Llandrindod.

Much of the TFW Network saw a Sunday as the base service with some odd morning peak additionals on most routes.     Almost immediately though,  the HOWL saw their service reduced to one train per day in each direction, crossing at Llandrindod Wells, but later re-instated the full Sunday Timetable which is 50% of the weekday service.  TFW  don't want any leisure travel and even give the impression they want any passengers at all.
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grahame
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« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2020, 08:37:11 pm »

Only a fortnight to go ... bus takes 3 hours (yes, 3 hours) from Swansea to Llanwrtyd which according to Google is 47 miles / 1 hour and 10 minutes by car.   Two services a day - first at 10:11, 13:01 to 13:19 change at Llanwrtyd, 14:22 at Knighton for their first train of the day into Shrewsbury.  Even as an advocate of public transport, I would look at alternatives.

Ironically, a couple of years back I had to travel Melksham to Swansea on a Sunday; rail replacement buses, Cardiff to Swansea that I did not fancy, and I took and enjoyed the train all the way, changing at Newport and Craven Arms.
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phile
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« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2020, 09:12:56 pm »

Now closed only until end of day August 1st
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grahame
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« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2020, 06:03:53 pm »

From the County Times

Quote
The Heart of Wales line between Llanwrtyd Wells and Swansea closed in early July in order to fix a damaged bridge.

Worn timbers on a rail-over-river bridge at Pontarddulais was found to be unsafe, and the railway line was closed between Hendy Junction and Pontarddulais until all safety repairs were completed.

Today, (Monday, August 3) rail services between the two stations have resumed for essential travel only.

However, Sugar Loaf station near Llanwrtyd Wells and Hopton Heath station near Knighton remains temporarily closed as social distancing isn't possible due to the short platform length.

Service the other stations remains so thin as to be (IMHO) useless for almost anything including essential travel.

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« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2020, 09:58:54 am »

From the County Times

Quote
The Heart of Wales line between Llanwrtyd Wells and Swansea closed in early July in order to fix a damaged bridge.

Worn timbers on a rail-over-river bridge at Pontarddulais was found to be unsafe, and the railway line was closed between Hendy Junction and Pontarddulais until all safety repairs were completed.

Today, (Monday, August 3) rail services between the two stations have resumed for essential travel only.

However, Sugar Loaf station near Llanwrtyd Wells and Hopton Heath station near Knighton remains temporarily closed as social distancing isn't possible due to the short platform length.

Service the other stations remains so thin as to be (IMHO) useless for almost anything including essential travel.



It seems TFW are just operating a 50% token service whether it's suitable for passengers or not.   NRE and TFW were still showing re-opening 3rd August up to end of play August 1st.      However,  the line actually re-opened with services running on Saturday August 1st but the info was not published.
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