Welsh Conservatives have expressed disappointment and outrage over a broken-down train leaving passengers abandoned and distressed for hours.
The 12:31 TfW service from Manchester Piccadilly to Milford Haven left hundreds of commuters stranded for three hours and twenty minutes just north of Abergavenny Station about 4pm on Monday.
The incident led to the line being closed by Network Rail with a knock-on effect on other services in the region and was aggravated by train crews reaching the end of their working time limits so replacement staff had to be brought in.
“Passengers on the service received very little information throughout their ordeal and were left in warm carriages, with poor ventilation and no functioning Wi-Fi having only been offered a bottle of water. Passengers were left standing, sitting on the floor, with many distressed to the point of tears,” said the Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Janet Finch-Saunders MS (above) who happened to be on the service.
Concerningly, an ambulance was called to assist a passenger who was reported to have fainted. This incident led to a further series of delays with reports of other services’ passengers being stranded for hours.
James Price, the Chief Executive Transport for Wales has written to the Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Janet Finch-Saunders MS, initiating an urgent investigation into the matter.
Welsh trains have been plagued by overcrowding and delays with a YouGov poll reporting that 22% of people in Wales consider their local train services to be bad. This is the highest rate in Britain.
Commenting on the story, Welsh Conservative and Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Janet Finch-Saunders MS, said, “This is the most serious and largest incidents of delays that I have experienced in my lifetime.
“This ordeal was distressing to hundreds of commuters on the service. I heard a number of incredibly sad stories as a result of these delays including a missed funeral and a man who lost his job due to the delay.
|Welsh Government wants to restart plans for a national bus service throughout Wales, which stalled two years ago when the pandemic struck.
Bus use is currently at its lowest in Wales for many years as passengers are concerned about infection but Welsh Government wants to encourage people out of cars to reduce pollution and is proposing a tightly controlled service run with private firms but more central control.
“While this serious issue merited a response from the Deputy Minister for Climate Change, none was made in the chamber. “Commuters on this service deserve an explanation from Labour ministers for their distressing ordeal.”
Welsh Conservative and Shadow Minister for Transport, Natasha Asghar MS, added,“I am incredibly disappointed by these stories of delays on TfW services.
“Delays such as these cause distress to travellers in Wales and can have a serious effect on livelihoods.
“If Labour ministers are serious about combatting climate change, the people of Wales need confidence in our rail services. These delays do very little to instil public confidence. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Wales deserves a better train service.”
In a letter to the Shadow Minister for Climate Change the Chief Executive of TfW James Price said an investigation into what happened and the actions of staff has started.
He wrote, I take it very seriously when we are not living up to the standards of services expected and we need to ensure when issues do occur, we do better to communicate to our passengers.”
He said that the ‘wrong’ type of trains were sent to help and road transport had to be ordered but only one coach could be supplied possibly because of school run contracts and taxis were booked instead to help passengers, who, Mr Price said, were being encouraged to claim compensation for their inconvenience.