Additional TFW Train from October 12th
The below is statement from Transport for Wales:
We are delighted to confirm that, as of 12 October, we will be reinstating a peak morning train service into Hereford Station.
Similar to the timetable prior to the COVID pandemic, this service will run at 06:55 from Cardiff (calling at Newport 07:14, Cwmbran 07:24, Pontypool & New Inn 07:30 and Abergavenny 07:42) and arrive at Hereford at 08:14, where this service will then terminate.
This is in addition to two other morning peak train services from the south, which includes the 08:56 arrival into Hereford which has been ‘strengthened’ with an additional carriage recently (as of 29 September) and the 07:38 arrival.
We recognise these trains are key for students travelling from South Wales to colleges in Hereford, and are some of the busiest services on our network, so we are pleased that we have managed to find a solution to alleviate capacity issues. It has been a particularly difficult challenge to work through as we are still very much operating a different train timetable throughout the pandemic, right across the network.
We are currently running around 80% of service capacity compared to pre COVID timetabling, and this is broadly in line with the whole of the UK. The reason why us and other train operating companies are not at 100% is that we too are challenged by COVID and need to be factoring in issues of managing work place social distancing at depots, maintenance, repairs and cleaning of fleet where we don’t have the full availability of staff. We also need to factor in reduction of staff numbers, where individuals need to self-isolate and take other COVID related absences.
It should be noted that standby buses will continue to operate across our network at weekday peak times, into and out of Hereford, to provide additional capacity for students when trains are busy.
As with every industry, we are following strict COVID rules, which means for us, reduced services and restricted capacity loads when applying social distancing measures. I fully understand this is not ideal, but as an organisation we must play our part to limit the spread of this pandemic. There will be times when train services are at, or close to capacity, and students are asked to travel on one of our dedicated buses. We would greatly appreciate cooperation and support at these times.
We understand it may appear as though these trains have space on board, but when applying Government guidance on social distancing measures for train loads, we aim – wherever possible – to run services between 30 to 50 percent capacity compared to pre COVID capacities. Therefore, last month we introduced additional and dedicated transport as Government Guidance also states that students from the same educational establishments can travel together on dedicated buses, whilst on trains with the public, physical distancing must remain. This means that we can board more students on these buses that are in place solely for them, than on trains, where there can be any number of general passengers. Where we have tried to encourage students to travel on a bus service, this is to maintain bubbles for specific institutions wherever possible.
Our primary focus is keeping our colleagues and customers safe so alongside our rail staff, British Transport Police will be patrolling this route at peak times to monitor loadings and will support rail staff and passengers should rail capacity be breached and buses need to run.
It should also be noted that all our trains are in use and all our crew stretched. Therefore, the buses may also be required in instances such as train delays or cancellations. We will of course do our absolute best to limit this, but this inevitably happens from time to time even in absence of the huge challenges presented by the pandemic.
Whilst we completely understand that this may mean longer journey times, we are nevertheless keen to meet our commitment that no student is left behind and can continue their learning as safely as possible.
We are encouraging pupils and students across Wales and the Borders to think of others and act responsibly when travelling. More information can be found on our website: https://tfw.gov.wales/travel-safer.
Please see below a summary of the current scheduled TfW Services, northbound and southbound to Hereford:
Shrewsbury to Hereford between 5:30-11am:
Hereford to Shrewsbury between 13:00-18:00:
Cardiff to Hereford between 6:30-10am:
- 6:55-08:14 – from October 12th
Hereford to Cardiff between 12:30-18:00:
There will be standby buses at Cwmbrân, Pontypool & New Inn and at Abergavenny. All of these are to cater for any overflow should northbound trains breach their social distancing capacity. When these buses have students on them, they will run directly to Hereford Railway Station without stopping anywhere else. All of these will run under standby conditions and will not be advertised to the public or be used for other members of the general public.
In the southbound direction there will be standby buses at Ludlow and Leominster. These will operate in the same way as the northbound buses.
For the return afternoon journey, there will be several standby buses operating out of Hereford, in position from around 2pm, until 7pm, to be dispatched and run as required, both northbound and southbound.
Stakeholder Engagement Team, TfW