Rail assurances welcomed by campaigners

Cllr Robert Griffin and Cllr Brian Allinson at Severn Beach Station

Rail campaigners in South Gloucestershire have welcomed assurances by the industry that local services will improve.

It follows concerns raised by South Gloucestershire Council’s transport chief about disruption that has been occurring on local rail services, particularly cancellations affecting passengers on key commuter services on the Severn Beach line and the Gloucester-Yate-Bristol Parkway-Bristol Temple Meads line.

On various occasions, there have been cancellations or curtailments to morning peak trains which have been attributed to shortage of crew, trains late from depot and train breakdowns.

On the Severn Beach Line, the main casualty has been the 07.18 from Severn Beach which has been either cancelled in entirety or curtailed to start at Avonmouth – stranding passengers at Severn Beach.

In addition, cancellations have also been occurring on other lines, including:

  • The 6:26am train from Bristol Parkway to Temple Meads and destinations beyond (this is the first train of the day in that direction from Bristol Parkway and used by passengers with onward connections at Temple Meads)
  • Local services on the Gloucester – Yate – Bristol Parkway – Bristol Temple Meads line
  • Local services on the Cardiff – Newport – Patchway – Bristol Temple Meads line

South Gloucestershire Council’s transport chief, Cllr Brian Allinson (Con, Stoke Gifford), had previously raised the issue of overcrowding on some local services, which helped lead to a commitment to add a number of extra carriages to services from next month.

This time he wrote to First Great Western (FGW) to express concerns on behalf of commuters about reliability and FGW’s Managing Director Mark Hopwood has written back to provide assurances that these issues are being resolved quickly and that he “will be keeping a close eye on things” from now on.

Cllr Allinson said:

“We have regular discussions with the rail industry about how we can work together to make travelling by train as attractive as possible.”

“I am encouraged by the reassuring response from First Great Western that they are committed to resolving these concerns about reliability, particularly before the extra carriages arrive shortly to ease overcrowding on a number of local services.”

Local rail campaigner and Conservative councillor for Pilning & Severn Beach, Robert Griffin, added:

“If we are trying to encourage people to leave their cars at home, then public transport has to be reliable.”

“Left unchallenged, the recent disruption on the Severn Beach line would have served only to jeopardise confidence in our local rail service, which so many people have worked hard to improve over a number of years.”

“We will be closely monitoring First Great Western’s efforts to improve the situation.”

More info: FGW’s letter of reply to Cllr Allinson

Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council

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