Coast Line Reopens
Monday, 1st September, saw the coast line formally re-opened by Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas, in time
for the new school year. The official train was the 0857 from Machynlleth to Pwllheli. In addition to
normal passengers, it picked up guests for the event at Machynlleth (Including Newsletter Editor Denis Bates
and Committee Member Robert Knight), and stations and halts along the line. Decorated stations and
halts included Llandanwg. The reopening ceremony was
performed at the new Llandecwyn Halt, where Lord
Thomas unveiled a commemorating the new bridge and
the reopening of the line, before the arrival of the train. The
platform party here joined the train for the run to Pwllheli,
joined by further groups at Penrhyndeudraeth, Porthmadog
For the autumn, local fares on the line are to be reduced
by 30% until December 13th.
| The reopening train standing at Pwllheli
There have been comments regarding the lack of car parking space in the vicinity of the station. Meanwhile the work to refurbish the builindgs continues apace.
Borth is to have extra car parking space made available in conjunction with the introduction of the enhanced train service. Also, we understand there are plans to close at least one of the level crossings in the Borth area, though at present we are not sure which, given that there is a choice of EIGHT, including foot crossings! We think that either Capel Sion or Capel Soar may be involved.
The 1950's signal box at the end of UP platform, decommissioned following ETCS, has been
demolished. At Machynlleth, SARPA members have commented on the site for the new DDA compliant
passenger footbridge being marked out. It appears that the investment, having been made on the
back of the DDA, offers the opportunity for the railway to do other things than just carry passengers.
All without having to bear the cost of the infrastructure.
Meanwhile, volunteers from the Dyfi Land Share community project have been working at the station as part of the "Edible Mach" scheme to grow food around the town. Rail users have had the opportunity to sample a selection of vegetables whislt waiting for their trains. Dave Crunkhorn of Arriva Trains Wales said: "The planter has proved to be a hit with our passengers, who have been seen to stop, read the information provided about the plants and sample those that were ripe for picking."
Machynlleth is also to have extra car parking space, with a proposal to demolish the former stationmaster's house to make the land available. The building has been standing empty for some time.
We understand that the Station Action Group continues to make slow progress against all the hurdles placed in their way. They have recently been discussing the future of the level crossing at the site of the station with Network Rail.
Work is progressing on the backpacker hostel in the station building.
The middle section of the station building has a new tenant who has opened it up as a Cafe and small shop. They are aiming to be open from 0600 to 2200 Monday to Saturday. The announcement of the extra trains from next May appears to have been a factor behind them taking the plunge on the expectation of increased footfall.
The wooden boxes on the DOWN platform are a vegetable patch planted by the Cwm Harry Land Trust.
Powys County Council is pressing ahead with plans to apply to the Welsh Government for a grant to redevelop
the bus station on its existing site. Where this leaves bus/rail integration remains unclear and also
where the buses to serve it will come from. Having cut support to around half the bus routes in the
county in 2013, a further package of cuts has been proposed on the bus support grant but without
any detail on where the axe will fall. Public transport by bus in the county may soon become a trip
into a market town for school/college time and a trip back when school/college finishes.
Work is drawing to completion in closing the level crossing as the new road has progressed at a pace to
access the few buildings the old crossing road served. Sources in Network Rail confirm that instead
of slowing to 40mph trains will be able to come through at 80 mph, potentially shaving 2 minutes off
journey times. It is understood that this is critical to running more frequent trains reliably.
You can see a complete list of all level crossings on the network by clicking here.
We have heard that Buttington-Trewern School have teamed up with Arriva Trains Wales to provide floral decoration at the station. Arriva are going to provide planters for the project.
Concern has been expressed at the lack of additional parking space for rail passengers arriving by car, which could become acute when the service frequency is enhanced next year. Additional space could be made available on the east side of the station, although where the funding to convert it into car park space will come from is not clear.
Members of the local agricultural community have become concerned about the prospect of an hourly
service claiming that they need half an hour at a time to get cattle across User Worked Crossings
(UWC), and they will no longer have the time with more trains running. Their claims have been met
with some scepticism from within railway sources, who point to other areas of the UK with double track
and even more frequent services that seemingly have no issues with live stock crossing. It has been
suggested that the farmers are primarily looking for compensation and it has pointed out that north
of Welshpool to Buttington Junction up until 1965 there were close on 50 train movements a day on
summer Saturdays. As far as we are aware, there is no record of any livestock crossing problems.
Buttington Crossing Collision
The report on the accident was released earlier in the year; it can be accessed online by clicking here.
Work has still not finished on the undersides of the bridge over the river Severn, with contractors
equipment and screens still evident in mid April. The work has meant that the freight avoiding lines
have not been used, and a large gouge has been created in Platform 3. Despite the completion of the
new customer assistance/dispatch office and new waiting room area, some areas in the station environs still present
a scruffy, unkempt appearance, with the state of the area between the tracks and the footbridge to the
Dana of particular concern.
In October, we heard via industry sources that the through freight road is being partially lifted to provide access for repair work to the bridge at the north end of the station. From what we understand, this is on a temporary basis and the track should be replaced when the work is complete.
It's those London trains again - seemingly bowing to political pressure two paths have been found
for Virgin Trains as extensions of existing Euston to Birmingham/Wolverhampton trains. Provisional
departure times from Shrewsbury are given as 0639 and 1524 for commencement in December 2014,
neither of which will connect with Cambrian trains.
Birmingham New Street
Passengers using Birmingham New Street will note that progress continues on the massive rebuilding project at the station, with large areas where work continues being panelled off.
The final piece of the station's new atrium roof covering was put into place on Tuesday 14 September 2014, marking another important milestone in the station's redevelopment.
Made from the same high-tech material as the Eden Project in Cornwall and the Allianz Arena in Munich, the translucent roof covering will allow natural light to stream down through the atrium onto the huge new concourse below - but not before demolition experts remove around 6,000 tonnes of concrete over two floors of the old Pallasades shopping centre.
Chris Montgomery, Network Rail's project director for the Birmingham New Street project said:
"As our work to transform New Street station continues, excitement among our 1,000-strong workforce is really starting to build. Piece by piece, the design and concept for the station is being brought to life and it's great to see the last section of the new roof covering lifted into place."
We understand that there are also proposals for a moving "travelator" which will operate between New St and Moor St stations.
You can find out more about the project by visiting www.newstreetnewstart.co.uk
Network Rail have kindly allowed us to use the pictures below, which give an artists impression of the rebuilt station. The webmaster rather feels that the striking atrium feature would be further enhanced by some large plant life. An opportunity for Birmingham Botanical Gardens perhaps?