Farewell to Arriva Trains Wales – a look back

Arriva Trains Wales Class 158 No. 158829 arrives into Llandecwyn with the 07:06 to Machynlleth
Arriva Trains Wales Class 158 No. 158829 arrives into Llandecwyn with the 07:06 to Machynlleth // Credit: RailAdvent

We bid farewell to Arriva Trains Wales as their franchise ownership comes to an end this evening as Transport for Wales take over from the 14th October.

Arriva Trains Wales has operated the the railway in Wales and Borders for 15 years, and during that time, has had some major investments at stations

Arriva Trains Wales is now saying “Diolch” to all our customers, colleagues and stakeholders.

They have also said ‘Thank You’ to Network Rail who have helped deliver so many schemes over the past 15 years as well as the Welsh Government, the Department for Transport and others.

Funding for these projects have come from a host of areas, including the National Station Improvement Programme and Access for All as well as funding from the European Union, Welsh Government, Local Authorities and Arriva Trains Wales themselves.

Here at RailAdvent, we would like to thank Arriva Trains Wales for 15 years of services. We have used them a number of times and every time they have been brilliant.

Amongst the completed projects were:

  • Major redesign of Newport, Swansea, Port Talbot and Bridgend
  • New waiting rooms and toilets at Llanelli, Shrewsbury and Colwyn Bay completed this year alone
  • Brand new toilets and waiting rooms on Platforms 1/2, 3/4 and 6/7 at Cardiff Central
  • 13 stations fitted with new fully accessible footbridges or lifts
  • New customer information screens at 168 stations meaning all stations on Wales and Borders route have customer information
  • Since 2009 new shelters have been built in 45 stations
  • Hundreds of new ticket machines, extra car park provision and cycle storage
  • A new station at Fishguard and Goodwick, Energlyn and Churchill Park and Llanharan
  • Reinstatement of the second platform at Gowerton
  • As well as that £100 million of investment the 15 year franchise has also seen the reopening of the Ebbw Vale line in 2008 with eight new stations built and the reopening of the Vale of Glamorgan line to passenger services in 2005 with two new stations thanks to close work between UK and Welsh Governments, Network Rail and Arriva Trains Wales.
  • Refurbishment of all Class 142, 150, 158 and 175 trains.
What did the officials say?

Managing Director Tom Joyner said:

“It’s easy to forget just how far we’ve come in just 15 years,”

“When you put it all together you can see just how much has been acheived across Wales and the Borders it really is phenomenal.

“These wonderful achievements are a result of so much hard work both internally and in partnership with the likes of Network Rail, Welsh Government and Department for Transport.

“They form part of our legacy and we can rightly feel proud to be handing over the franchise in a far better condition that the one we inherited in 2003.”

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  1. So much hypocrisy from ATW. They generated one of the highest profit margins of all the railway companies by running the barest minimum service permitted, and providing the minimum maintenance. Their official PR reply to complaints of overcrowding was ‘there are no quick or easy solutions’ which is to say the least, disingenuous. More trains would have helped, and they could have (as a suggestion) leased/hired extra rolling stock. From where? you might ask. Long Marston rail depot in Warwickshire is chock full of stored stock, so there’s a potential source. There may be others dotted around the country. The endemic late running was another factor. Why was there little, if any, attempt to make up time on the Borders line? Would accelerating trains to maximum line speed as soon as possibel after leaving stations have been so difficult? (I suspect that would have meant using more diesel fuel, which would have affected profits, but let that pass). And the story behind new toilets at Shrewsbury station: this had to be done THREE times because of bad planning and sheer incompetence. So their statement that they are proud to have run the franchise for 15 years reeks of hypocrisy and contempt for their ‘customers’. Although new trains are coming, it’ll take a while, and TFW will presumably have to do a lot of firefighting and damage limitation having inhereted a shocking service that’s been intentionally run into the ground.

  2. I have to say, since I moved to Wales I have witnessed the most amazing service by Arriva trains Wales.
    When my mother in law visited Abergavenny from up north, the driver parked the train, called the signalman and then escorted her across the track before returning to the train and then waving at my young sons as they drove off towards Cardiff.
    It was a very special day, to realise that you can still get such exceptional service in this day and age and it is certainly the exact opposite of what can be found in parts of England.

    It makes me realise Wales is special and I am glad to have moved here.
    I hope the next train company can keep similar standards of customer care.
    It was excellent.

    • We used Arriva Trains Wales regularly in 2017 and never had any problems with them. They were 99% on time, with the remaining 1% being late trains thanks to environmental issues (flooding etc).

  3. What a waste of money franchising it,TfW should be allowed to run it in house so any profits made don’t leave the country.

  4. I realised my ambition to enjoy the great little trains of Wales at 73,I also enjoyed the big trains,so I would like to thank you for your service ,staff and trains,totally unaware of the last time on Arriva Wales!
    Thank you
    Mervyn Horner
    Ex pat from Spain

  5. As the new franchise has now taken over. New trains will soon be coming. Which will be interesting and exciting to see. But yes sad to see Arriva to lose its Welsh & Borders franchise.

    RIP Arriva Trains Wales. 2003-2018. They have lasted quite a long time.


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