Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Aberystwyth train station alterations

An artist's impression/a study in grey

Apparently millions of pounds is going to be spent on altering Aberystwyth train station. Information is thin on the ground about the exact details.

There are six things that would make the station, or rail transport in general, better. How many of these will be improved by all that money? We're guessing only 1-2 of them, but we would love to be proved wrong.

Our list of the things to improve the train experience (feel free to add to this):
  1. A waiting room that is warm and is not part of a cafe: when it is part of a cafe it is not clear if you are allowed to wait in it without buying things.
  2. A clean station. (Note - this does not require millions of pounds and should not depend on special one-off pots of money).
  3. Toilets that are always open and free. (The Aberystwyth train station toilets are closed around 50% of the time; Ceredigion County Council has closed a number of useful public toilets over the last ten years).
  4. Cheaper and more regular trains with simple pricing.
  5. Make it easier to take bicycles on the train with guaranteed places for them. Currently you can be refused, leaving you stranded, which puts people off using this option. (It is relevant that despite all the money spent on replacing paving stones as part of the "Aberystwyth Transport Project" there has been no improvement in connecting cycle routes to the "gateway"; secure bike storage; the ability to take bicycles on the Aberystwyth trains and buses; and so on...)
  6. Some trees and plants would be nice.
We've fixed that for you - let a visitor's first view
of Aberystwyth be a green one

28th April 2014, Network Rail responded to these points:
"1. After extensive consultation with Arriva Trains Wales, the separate cafe area has been removed from the scope of works. Provision has been made for future changes with all the services provided, but instead additional seating will be installed and Arriva Trains Wales will be providing vending machines for waiting passengers to use.
2. The station is leased by Arriva Trains Wales who are responsible for the cleanliness thereof. An enquiry such as this may be best placed forward to ATW via their contact page. Nonetheless we are working on improving the state of the canopies around the building to improve the feel of the area, and we regularly review track cleaning frequencies with Arriva Trains Wales.
3. Again, Arriva Trains Wales are responsible for the safety and security of the station, which includes the opening hours of the toilet areas. At present, the toilets are open when the station is staffed as a security measure. The new toilet facilities will be cleaner and easier to navigate, and are free for passenger use.
4. Again, Arriva Trains Wales operate services as a franchise from Welsh Government. Welsh Government is currently proposing to introduce extra trains between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury, details of which will be available soon.
5. We will be installing additional 'Sheffield hoop' bicycle parking facilities under cover on the platform as part of our project. Cyclists leaving the station through the railway (side) entrance will benefit from a larger pedestrianised area at the bottom of the access ramp, enabling them to prepare for their onward journey. Accommodation of bicycles on trains is a matter for Arriva Trains Wales.
6. 'Some trees and plants would be nice.' Trees and plants are not part of our remit from Welsh Government."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

7. More reliable trains. And no 'creative' use of the timetable so that it takes 20mins on paper to get from Borth to Aber, but only 10 mins in reality, and only 10mins in the other direction. They build in slack so that late trains can catch up and still end up 'on time' (which is actually only with something like 7 mins of the actual time of final destination scheduled time) and thus don't lose points in the scoring tables.

All your other points are good ones. Hourly service in the morning and evening for commuting in both directions would be good.