Wales' Train Services Criticized as 'Inadequate' for Major Events

A Senedd Committee report criticizes Wales' train services during major events as "simply inadequate", citing insufficient capacity and scheduling. The Committee urges Transport for Wales to improve planning and services, including rescheduling engineering works and adding special late trains.

Israel Ojoko
Updated On
New Update
Wales' Train Services Criticized as 'Inadequate' for Major Events

Wales' Train Services Criticized as 'Inadequate' for Major Events

A Senedd Committee has described Wales' train services during major events as "simply inadequate" and is urging Transport for Wales to improve its planning and services. The Committee's annual report highlights the need for better train services, particularly for Wales football matches and concerts, as thousands of fans attending these events are often affected by insufficient train capacity and scheduling.

Why this matters: The reliability of public transportation during major events has a significant impact on the overall experience of attendees and the local economy. If left unaddressed, inadequate train services can lead to decreased attendance, revenue loss, and a negative reputation for the region.

One of the key issues identified is that the last train from Cardiff often leaves minutes after the full-time whistle at football matches, leaving fans stranded. Engineering works also frequently clash with major events, causing further disruptions to train services. Transport for Wales CEO James Price admitted that services available for football events were not at the same level as for big rugby games.

The Committee has made several recommendations to address these problems. These include improving planning and coordination with Network Rail to reschedule engineering works during major events, arranging special late trains with extra carriages for big sporting events and concerts, and paying passengers for taxi fares if a train is cancelled and no rail replacement service has been arranged. The Committee also suggests factoring in the time of year and location of the station when making decisions on cancelled services.

Llyr Gruffydd MS, Chair of the Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee, stated, "Too often passengers have been let down by Transport for Wales; with a lack of trains and carriages, or services finishing early during major events." He added, "Frequent last-minute delays mean that you don't need to be a Springsteen fan to know that our trains aren't Born to Run on time."

The report also highlights that between January and July 2023, stations in Wales had the highest rate of cancelled services in Britain. Transport for Wales also scored bottom of Transport Focus' rail user satisfaction survey.

The Committee's report comes as thousands of Bruce Springsteen fans prepare to attend a concert at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. Other major events, including Foo Fighters and Taylor Swift concerts, and Wales football matches, are expected to put pressure on Cardiff's rail connections in the coming months.

Llyr Gruffydd MS emphasized, "Our annual report sends a clear message: this must be the end of the line for poor performance. If Transport for Wales engages constructively and listens to our recommendations, we should see improvements soon." With major events on the horizon, the pressure is on for Transport for Wales to deliver a more reliable and efficient train service for the thousands of passengers who depend on it.

Key Takeaways

  • Wales' train services during major events are "simply inadequate", says Senedd Committee.
  • Inadequate train services can lead to decreased attendance, revenue loss, and a negative reputation.
  • Last trains from Cardiff often leave minutes after event endings, leaving fans stranded.
  • Committee recommends improving planning, special late trains, and paying taxi fares for cancelled services.
  • Transport for Wales scored bottom in rail user satisfaction survey and had highest rate of cancelled services.