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Monday 12 January 2015 in Hereford Times News by Bill Tanner

 
Service now handling 3.5 million passenger journeys faces review
 
WITH over 3.5 million journeys now taken on the rail link between Hereford and Shrewsbury, a users group is long overdue.
 
Now, such a group has arrived in the guise of the Marches Rail Users Alliance (MRUA).
 
And MRUA has wasted little time in signalling its intentions.
 
This week, ahead of a review of Arriva Trains Wales as the operating franchise, MRUA has identified four key issues with the line that it is “keen to discuss†with Arriva, the Department for Transport and the Welsh Assembly.
 
They are:
 
1. Provision of an hourly stopping train between Hereford and Shrewsbury
 
At present, says MRUA, the pattern is irregular with a “considerable imbalance†at certain times of the day.
 
Examples are cited as a gap from Church Stretton to Shrewsbury between 1504 and 1655 and another between 0938 and 1138 southbound from Craven Arms to Hereford. 
 
MRUA wants an hourly stopping train interspersed with faster limited stop services.
 
2. Capacity Management
 
Members of MRUA’s constituent groups find increasing overcrowding on certain trains.
 
MRUA wants most trains to be made up of three cars with additional capacity to meet the heavier passenger flows.
 
3. Connections
 
MRUA has picked up on frustration at apparent poor connections at Hereford (for the Worcester line), Shrewsbury (for Wolverhampton and Birmingham) and Newport (for London and the West).
 
Passengers at smaller stations are said to face waiting areas that are “very basic†and a cafe at Hereford that closes at 18.00 when the station is still busy.
 
4. Integration for onward travel
 
MRUA says this could be improved at most stations at modest cost and in some cases may be deterring travel.
 
Cited as examples of scope for improvement are: pedestrian approaches at Hereford and Ludlow, car parking at Leominster and  bus service information generally.
 
MRUA represents an alliance of the Rail User groups along the high capacity rail link between Hereford and Shrewsbury, which has a population of 200,000 living within easy distance of six stations.
 
Current rail use is high with over 3.5 million trips made into or out of Hereford, Leominster, Ludlow, Craven Arms, Church Stretton and Shrewsbury and passenger numbers have increased because of  early improvements by Arriva Trains Wales.
 
But MRUA says the service provided has not kept up with this growth.
 
MRUA chairman Professor Leslie Lumsdon said: "Given the continued annual fare rises, we deserve better. It is important for passengers to make their views known to the train operating company and others responsible for delivering our rail service. These views can be fed through to the companies interested in bidding for the Wales and Borders franchise in 2018."
 
Responses to the issues raised by MRUA can be put to its secretary Ian Slater, at mrua@slateri17.freeserve.co.uk or Prof Lumsdon at leslumsdon@hotmail.com or 01584 877588.

 

Are the lifts operating yet on the station. I was last told they would be working by the end of June 2014, but the scaffold bridge is still in place.

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Interesting subject this one. I regularly complain to Arriva Trains Wales when the train I catch from Hereford (northbound) is only formed of two coaches and is already rammed when I get on. These small trains regularly coincide with increased passenger numbers that could be anticipated for that route at that time. Arriva obviously don't check the Liverpool/Manchester football matches that their company service. Although they pull their finger out for Wales at home in Cardiff for the rugby.

 

The standard response I get is that they are running at Capacity with their rolling stock and it's the fault of the Welsh Govt. for not subsidising more trains. 

 

I have previously looked into this and the Arriva contract was signed off in 2003 (until 2018 I think) and they were under no obligation to increase their trains/services in the event of rising passenger numbers. The numbers did surge and the Welsh Govt. had to step in and buy more trains and it is alleged that it is subsidising Arriva by over £150M a year.

 

The franchise has very few trains that do the first class/buffet car thing (I was told one but it may be more) which they call the 'Arriva Premier' service and which travels the Cardiff ---> Holyhead route and back. Over the course of 5 years the Welsh Govt. has subsidised that by £22M.

 

Welsh Express Link

 

I do sympathise with people who live in places where sometimes the train stops but it may rush thru. Craven Arms and Church Stretton are the obvious one's on the route I use. But if every train stopped at every station then it would be impossible to get longer journeys done in a reasonable time. Complaints have also previously been made about trains stopping less often at Ruabon. It's all down to capacity.

 

I don't know what the poster was on about in the first response to the HT article on their website. Obviously no clue who has the franchise for the Hereford to Shrewsbury route.

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This is one of two notes on rail passenger franchising. This note sets out the terms of the various rail franchises in England and Wales and cross-border franchises with Scotland. It does not cover the ScotRail franchise in Scotland, which is devolved (see: SPICe briefing 08/38). A second note, SN6521, sets out in more detail how franchising works and the franchising policy of successive governments.

 


Edited by megilleland
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At the very least there needs to be a third coach added to the Arriva Wales service and an occasional limited stopper on said route.Unlike Roger the bulk of my rail trips head towards Southampton though I did enjoy a recent visit to Manchester Piccadilly!

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Are the lifts operating yet on the station. I was last told they would be working by the end of June 2014, but the scaffold bridge is still in place.

 

Called into the station a few days ago and told the lifts are being tested in the next couple of weeks and should be operational by April!

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In Hereford Times News today

 

 
ONE of the county’s award-winning cider makers will be appearing on BBC2’s Great British Railway Journeys next week.
 
Denis Gwatkin, who is based at Moorhampton Park Farm in Abbey Dore, was visited by Michael Portillo during the cidermaking season last September.
 
The pair picked apples and used Mr Gwatkin’s Victorian apple scratter and press to produce juice to ferment into cider.
 
The farm and cider house visit will be shown from 6.30pm on Monday and will feature a train journey from Swansea to Hereford, using the Bradshaw’s Railway Guidebook.
 
Mr Gwatkin said the former politician was keen to be involved in all aspects of cider making, from shaking the apples off the tree using the traditional panking pole, to collecting the apples and using a restored Victorian scratter and press.
 
He added: “Afterwards, of course, we retired to the cider house for a refreshing cup or two of my award-winning cider, which he said that he enjoyed very much.â€
 
Cider has been made at Moorhampton Park Farm for generations, with the orchards clearly marked on the 1833 map, a few years before Bradshaw began publishing his guides.
 
Mr Gwatkin has been producing cider commercially now for almost a quarter of century and has won numerous awards from the Campaign for Real Ale.
 
I like the presentation of this programme. Should create a few more train journeys. 
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Yeah ... I like the feel of this programme ... Very enjoyable ... I'll either watch/record it.There's obviously no railway station anywhere near the cider place now. Nearest stop is Hereford. But the relevance is probably The Golden Valley Railway Line which did stop at Abbey Dore ...  Wiki Last train on that line was 1953.

 

On a side note I got on a northbound train at Hereford in 2010 and there was about just one other person in the end of the carriage I was in. Yup. It was Michael Portillo. No sign of his Bradshaw's guidebook. Just his blackberry mobile phone on the table ... 

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Called into the station a few days ago and told the lifts are being tested in the next couple of weeks and should be operational by April!

 

Friday 27 March 2015 in Hereford Times News 
 
 
LIFTS which were installed last November at Hereford Railway Station are still undergoing "safety testing".
 
Network Rail has spent £1.6m on the project to make the site more accessible and have also refurbished the footbridge.
 
But although the lifts were installed last year, they are still not being used, and some rail users have asked why.
 
In response, a Network Rail spokesman said: “The refurbished footbridge and new lifts at Hereford station will make travelling by train easier and more accessible for huge numbers of passengers.
 
“This £1.6m project has been funded through the Department for Transport’s ‘Access for All’ scheme which is designed to improve accessibility at rail stations across Britain.
 
“We are currently carrying out final safety testing on the lifts at Hereford.
 
"We apologise for any inconvenience caused while these essential safety measures are undertaken before the lifts can be used by the public.â€

 

Network Rail unable to give a date for the use of the lifts. Why does it take so long to get anything done in this country? Meanwhile a company in China is preparing to build the world's tallest skyscraper in just 90 days. However it appears they didn't do it, maybe because they planned to use 104 lifts in the building.
Edited by megilleland
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I've used Hereford Station a couple of times in the past week and those lifts are still being 'tested' ... but nothing visible going on. However a couple of vans (with guys inside) have been parked up outside, marked integral.co.uk, which appears to be the sort of company who would test lifts. 

 

On a separate note I'm in London on Sunday and the earliest Hereford ---> Paddington train is 10.06 getting in at 13.53 with two changes. However if I get a lift to Malvern then there is a direct train which is 09.20 getting in at 12.06. Just demonstrates, I think, that the single track between Hereford and Ledbury is hampering Hereford customers ... 

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Integral are used by Herefordshire Council as can be seen in this News Release from 2013.

The other major contracts to be awarded are building repairs and maintenance which will be provided by Integral UK Limited and building cleaning services which was awarded to Initial Facilities Services. Both these contracts will be for an initial three year term.
 
Cllr Harry Bramer, cabinet member for major contracts said: “We’re delighted to be able to announce that these important service contracts to Balfour Beatty Living Places, Integral UK Limited and Initial Facilities Services have all started on time.
 
“These contracts are important to the county as we seek to make savings in all our major contracts and work to improve roads and streets services, reduce property management costs and ensure our buildings are efficient to run and fit for purposeâ€.   
 
Integral feature reguarly in the council's expenses, that is up to January 2015, as this is the last time the council published its last expenses under transparency rules where you can see records of all expenditures over £500 since April 2010. I wonder what the expenditure has been over the last 4 months, maybe they don't want to tell us till after the election?
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Integral are used by Herefordshire Council as can be seen in this News Release from 2013.
 
 
Integral feature reguarly in the council's expenses, that is up to January 2015, as this is the last time the council published its last expenses under transparency rules where you can see records of all expenditures over £500 since April 2010. I wonder what the expenditure has been over the last 4 months, maybe they don't want to tell us till after the election?

 

 

The rail would not be The Council tho ? 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Called into the station a few days ago and told the lifts are being tested in the next couple of weeks and should be operational by April!

 

Bought some rail tickets on Monday (11th May 2015) and enquired if the lifts are operational yet. The answer was No. Originally told they would be working April 2014!

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My partner's daughter tells me that the lifts at Hereford Station are now in operation.

 

Yeah ... The Hereford Times reported this development on 23 June 2015.

 

However I walked down Barrs Court Road this morning and looking across I could see that the lifts were barriered off at the train station and they are clearly back out of action. Reason unknown. 

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Lots of disruption today on the Hereford to Worcester service. Both ways. The cause was problems around the 'Lickey Incline' in the Bromsgrove area. It's a 1 in 37 gradient which apparently is the steepest in the Country. Problems there just knocked all the timings out of sync ... I'm guessing by the state of my lawn it was the old 'leaves on the line' problem ...  :tongue_32:

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Leaves, inclines whatever, do not help some one, (me), standing on Ledbury Platform 2 waiting in the dark, wet and cold for a 92 ton train to get delayed by 30 minutes due to a wet bit of cellulose. "Travel by Public Transport" is the cry! Sure. £7.30 return and no guarantee of turning up, or the car. Me know which way I lean.

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I was, today, unfortunate enough to have found myself, again, on the 10.49 hrs Birmingham ---> Hereford London Midland train. (After arrival it changes into the 12.40 Hereford ---> Birmingham train.)

 

It is the dreaded two carriage 'Pacer' train that's a donkey's years old bus that's been adapted to run on the railway.

 

I normally sit in the rear carriage but today I sat at the rear of the first carriage which is directly adjacent to the bog. Never sat there before. This is probably why I've never noticed that there's an air vent in the bottom of the bog door that lets people sat opposite (today that was me) see all the movements around the toilet pan behind the locked door. Grim is not the word .... :-( I will have to alert London Midland directly as it's not a good situation.

 

Also the adjacent connecting squeaky carriage door was completely knackered. It was swinging open/closed every 10 seconds. About 6 people tried to ram it closed. No chance ..... Just a total 'nail' of a train.

 

On the upside tho the ticket was cheapish. Liverpool Lime Street to Hereford was £11.50 single ....  :Happy_32:

Edited by Roger
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First 'real' working day back at work/college today after the 1.1% rise in the price of tickets to use the trains. A bit of a let down if you use the Cardiff ---> Hereford ---> Manchester route (or any part of it) as the whole Arrive TW network was on strike!  :Hmm:

 

Corbyn was protesting at Kings Cross Station this morning about these 'Tory' rail price increases ... Probably should have put his #reshuffle off until tomorrow as doing two things on one day was clearly too much for him! 

 

3629.jpg?w=620&q=85&auto=format&sharp=10

 

Guardian

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Crazy prices on the train website again this week. Hereford ---> Birmingham ---> Liverpool was £1.80 cheaper if you bought a 1st class single ticket. Just about to get on the 10.40 ... There won't be a 1st class car from Hereford but there will be from Birmingham. All a bit academic as the carriages are virtually identical ... Apart from the fact no one is in 1st class! 

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