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Free Wales Pensioner Rail Travel Extended But With Heart Of Wales Restriction - 7600/12302
Written by Lee on Thursday, 15th May 2008
An extension to free rail travel for pensioners has been announced by the Welsh Assembly Government (link below.)
The scheme will now include the Cambrian Coast line and the Welsh section of the Wrexham to Bidston line.
However, stopping concessions on the Heart of Wales line over the summer because trains were often too full has been called "outrageous".
The extension of the pilot scheme into a second year was launched on the Cambrian coast railway, from Porthmadog to Machynlleth, by transport minister Ieuan Wyn Jones.
But Mr Jones also announced summer restrictions on the Heart of Wales line because the rail system struggled to cope last year with trains being too full on some occasions.
Despite additional carriages, some trains were reported as too full to board.
The assembly government said there was a trend of free long-distance tourism travel, in particular to Shrewsbury, whereas the original intention was to help local journeys.
The concession scheme for this route will now run from October and end in April.
[quote="Liberal Democrat transport spokeswoman Kirsty Williams AM"]"The deputy first minister is yet again penalising those in rural areas,"
"In other areas concessionary passes will remain valid throughout the summer but OAPs in the rural Heart of Wales areas are missing out due to the very success and popularity of the scheme."
Ms Williams said the assembly government should invest in additional rolling stock as a "sound investment for the benefit of OAPs in rural areas". [/quote]
[quote="Trefor Roberts, of the north Wales councils' transport consortium Taith"]"We realise that the system couldn't cope last year," he said.
"I'm absolutely delighted with what has been announced today," he added.[/quote]
OAP SCHEME DETAILS :
Cambrian Coast - free travel all year between Machynlleth and Pwllheli
Welsh section of the Borderlands line - free travel from 18 May from Hawarden Bridge to Wrexham (except early train)
Conwy Valley line - free travel from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Llandudno on Arriva Trains Wales
Heart of Wales line - free travel October to April, but not in the summer
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Save the Train was the campaign to bring an approriate train service back to and through Melksham.
Most big contributors are still around writing at the Coffee shop forum where new members are very welcome.
The train has been saved - sort of - we have stepped back up from an unusable service to a poorish one but it's doing very well. We did that through setting up the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership. That fulfilled its early objectives; it has been taken over by local and regional government types who are now doing medium and long term work. The team from this forun can also be found at the Melksham Rail User Group (which was the Melksham Rail Development Group at the time these articles were written and we had no users.
We mustn't loose sight, though, that the train service remains poor and needs our community support in marketing and campaigning to keep it going in a positive direction ... and all the more so when we're expecting to find a different normallity once we get out of the Coronavirus Pandemic and head for zero carbon via the climate crisis. Yes, it's saved ... it's now a key community facility ... the need for enhancement and the strong and near-universal local support remain, and the rail industry and goverment remain slow to move and provide the enhancements even to level us up with other towns. Please support the Melksham Rail User Group - now very much in partnership rather than protest with the rail industry and local government, including GWR, TransWilts and unitary and town councils. And please use the trains and buses, and cycle and walk when you can.
-- Graham Ellis, (webmaster), February 2021
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