Arriva Trains Wales

Arriva Trains Wales

Infobox Rail companies
image_filename = ATW-142002-CardiffCentral-01.jpg
franchise=Wales and borders
8 December 2003 – 2018
secregions=North West, West Midlands
stations=235 operated
parent_company=Arriva Group

Arriva Trains Wales ( _cy. Trenau Arriva Cymru) is a train operating company that operates urban and inter urban passenger services in Wales and the Welsh Marches. Its hubs are Cardiff Central, Cardiff Queen Street and Shrewsbury.


The company took over operation of the reorganised Wales and Borders railway franchise from the company of the same name in December 2003.cite web |url= |title= Franchise Information |accessdate=2008-03-24] Responsibility for this franchise has been devolved to the Welsh Assembly Government as a result of the Railways Act 2005 and the Transport (Wales) Act 2006 [cite web |url= |title="Welsh Assembly Government Rail Unit |accessdate=2008-03-26 ] , and they work closely with Arriva Trains Wales to develop the railway network within Wales. This has included the introduction of direct services between North and South Wales [cite web |url= |title=North Wales Railway Notice Board - That new Arriva Timetable |author=Chris Hulme |accessdate=2008-03-26] , and the reintroduction of passenger services on freight-only portions of the Vale of Glamorgan Line and Ebbw Vale Line.

They operate on a gauge of 1435 mm, over a route length: 1691km, with 253 DMU cars and 22 passenger coaches.

Arriva Trains Wales operate almost all services in Wales, with the exception of:

*Swansea/Cardiff Central to London Paddington (First Great Western)
*Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour and Taunton (First Great Western)

*Cardiff Central to Nottingham and Newcastle (CrossCountry)

*Holyhead/Llandudno to London Euston (Virgin Trains)

*Wrexham General to London Marylebone (Wrexham & Shropshire)

(Arriva Trains Wales and CrossCountry are both owned by the same parent company, Arriva.)


In October 2006 the company was ranked seventh best (out of 21 companies) with an above average 89.9% of trains 'on time' according to Network Rail statistics. [ [ Network Rail Punctuality Statistics] ] The latest figures released by the ORR (Office of Rail Regulation) rate punctuality (PPM) at 93.2% for the fourth and final quarter of the 2007/8 financial year. [cite web|url= PPM actual|title=Office of Rail Regulation - National Rail Trends|publisher=ORR] Their MAA (Monthly Annual Average) figure up to 30 March 2008 is also up on last year at 92.4%. [cite web|url= PPM actual|title=Office of Rail Regulation - National Rail Trends|publisher=ORR] However, the Cambrian Main Line is still a poor performer, with anecdotal evidence suggesting punctuality levels as low as 60%. [ [ Shrewsbury and Aberystwyth Rail Passengers Association] ]


On the 19 July 2008, a tractor driver suffered severe head injuries when his vehicle was hit by a train on a level crossing on the Shrewsbury to Chester Line. The 16:46 Gobowen-Chester worked by unit 158 824, struck the tractor and trailer at Weston Rhyn crossing between Gobowen and Chirk just before 17:00. The train didn't de-rail, but suffered severe front end damage. It later emerged that a passenger had suffered a whiplash injury to the neck, with the train driver being taken to hospital to be treated for shock. 17 passengers were on the train, all of whom were evacuated shortly after 19:00 and taken to their destinations by road. [ Today's Railways Issue 81]

Welsh Language Services

The Welsh Language Act 1993 requires all public bodies to provide services to the public through the medium of Welsh as well as English. Due to the privatisation of the railways, Arriva is not legally required to provide service in Welshcite web |url= |title=Western Mail: Train firm's web site hits the buffers over Welsh language |accessdate=2008-04-15 ] . Arriva do however conduct some business in Welsh. All stations in Wales where the Welsh and English names differ have both names displayed, with a few minor omissions (only the Welsh spelling "Fflint" is displayed at Flint railway station)icwales] . Arriva do not display Welsh names in the English stations which they manage, such as Chester (Welsh:"Caer") or Hereford (Welsh:"Henffordd")cite web |url= |title=Hereford Times: Welsh signs would be on wrong track |accessdate=2008-04-15] , although recorded announcements are in both English and Welsh.

Arriva Trains Wales have introduced bilingual display screens and announcements in at least 46 stations cite web |url= |title=Arriva: Rail company launches Welsh language phone line |accessdate=2008-04-15] , but these do not include some stations such as Bangor in traditionally Welsh-speaking areas. Long-distance services on Class 175 trains now show both Welsh and English names on their on-train display boards (e.g. Manceinion/Manchester Piccadilly), but the audio announcements are still English only.Fact|date=April 2008

In 2004, Arriva introduced a Welsh language phone line arriva] . Their website was named the "Best Website of The Year in the Technology Wales Awards 2004"cite web |url= |title=Imaginet: Arriva Trains Wales secures top internet communications award |accessdate=2008-04-15] . Arriva report that approximately 4% of their customers use the Welsh websiteuglam] ; this low takeup of Welsh services is comparable to some other companies.


North Wales

Services along the North Wales Coast Line terminate at Holyhead and Llandudno. Llandudno services run every hour, mainly to Manchester Piccadilly via Warrington Bank Quay and Manchester Oxford Road. Holyhead services run every hour, to Crewe or to Cardiff Central via Wrexham General , with some trains to Manchester Piccadilly. Request stations (Valley, Ty Croes, Rhosneigr, Llanfairpwll, Llanfairfechan, Penmaenmawr and Conwy) are served by alternate trains.

The Conwy Valley Line is operated by a single train running between Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog, with six return journeys a day. The Ffestiniog Railway operates between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Porthmadog.

Mid Wales

Cambrian Line services consist of trains from Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury and Birmingham New Street every two hours. Services from Pwllheli join this train at Dovey Junction. The single-tracked nature of this line, coupled with the busy terminus at Birmingham currently mean that delays can result in partial cancellation of services on this line. Trial of the ERTMS traffic management system is under way on the Cambrian Line [cite web |url= |title=Network Rail awards ERTMS contract |accessdate=2008-03-24] , and this may alleviate these problems.

From December, most services will be extended to Birmingham International and most trains will make an additional call at Smethick Galton Bridge. [ [ Proposed timetable]

The Heart of Wales Line has services from Swansea to Shrewsbury via Llanelli and Llandrindod four or five times a day. It is marketed by Arriva Trains Wales as a scenic, rural line, with special rover tickets available [cite web|url= |title=The Heart of Wales Line |accessdate=2008-08-25 |publisher=Arriva Trains Wales] [cite web |url= |title=Discover Wales and the Borders by Train - Your Guide to Arriva Trains Wales' Rovers and Rangers |publisher=Arriva Trains Wales |accessdate=2008-08-25] .

South Wales

As of September 2008, Arriva Trains Wales operates an hourly long-distance services from Carmarthen to Manchester Piccadilly via Cardiff Central and the Welsh Marches Line. Some off-peak services terminate at or originate from Cardiff Central, and continue to or come from Milford Haven every two hours.

Arriva also operates a service every two hours from Cardiff Central to Holyhead via Wrexham General.

Other branches of the West Wales Line as served by services from Swansea and Cardiff Central. Trains operate a shuttle service between Swansea and Cardiff Central, calling at more minor stations than the First Great Western Intercity services do.

The Valley Lines network, previously operated as a separate franchise, are a collection of commuter lines in Cardiff and the surrounding area, including the South Wales Valleys and the Vale of Glamorgan. Arriva Trains Wales also operate a service from Maesteg to Cheltenham Spa. Stations in the valleys north of Cardiff have seen sustained strong growth and demand for services. The extent of which is now demonstrated by a half-hourly service on the fringes of the network (Pontypridd-Treherbert, Abercynon-Aberdare, Abercynon-Merthyr Tydfil and in the future Bargoed to Rhymney). Service frequency growth at the fringes is an enormous problem because of often-lengthy single-track sections. Between the larger towns and Cardiff these services combine to provide at least a train every 15 minutes with six trains per hour between Pontypridd and Cardiff and four trains per hour between Bargoed and Cardiff. Stations on the Treherbert and Rhymney branch lines have been lengthened to accommodate six-car trains to cope with future growth demand for commuting into and out of the capital.

On 6 February 2008 the Ebbw Valley line was partially re-opened to passenger services for the first time in over 40 years. The route provides an hourly service to Cardiff Central calling at Ebbw Vale Parkway railway station, Llanhilleth, Newbridge, Crosskeys, Risca and Pontymister, and Rogerstone and Cardiff Central. In mid July 2008 the line had already carried over 200,000 passengers, if this trend continues then the line will achieve its five-year passenger target of 420,000 in year one.fact|date=September 2008 Developments on the line also include restoring the service between Ebbw Vale and Newport — the proposal out to study at present would provide an hourly service to Ebbw Vale, which would mean the line would achieve a thirty-minute service interval on a standard-pattern timetable.

Arriva also operates on the Heart of Wales line between Shrewsbury and Swansea via Llandrindod with four trains per day each direction. Special Royal Welsh Trains extending into South East Wales operate to Builth Road station during the Royal Welsh Show annually in July.

Marches and Border

Services between Chester and Newport form part of other services already mentioned, such as Holyhead to Cardiff Central, or Milford Haven to Manchester Piccadilly. Coming north, after calling at Shrewsbury (for connections to Mid-Wales) trains for North Wales go to Chester via Wrexham General, and trains for Manchester go to Crewe.

Borderlands Line services run from Wrexham Central to Bidston on the Wirral Peninsula. This line connects with electrified lines operated by Merseyrail, and may be converted to electric operation in the future [cite web |url= |title= Electrification of Borderlands Line |accessdate=2008-03-24] . This may lead to the line being operated by Merseyrail.

Special Services

For special events such as football or rugby matches, Arriva is known to operate additional services to the venue . Wales and Borders had arranged in the past a stopping service to Edinburgh Waverley. Numerous other services have been operated. Arriva usually operates shuttle services to Newport on match days. Some of these services were operated using locos and hauled stock - usually on loan. It is not expected to continue in this fashion.

Past Services

Wales and Borders (now Arriva Trains Wales) used to operate services between Cardiff and South West England, as well as between West Wales, Cardiff and London Waterloo via Bristol. Services to the South West are now operated by First Great Western, while a shortened Bristol to Waterloo service is provided by South West Trains.

Major stations served

tations in Wales

*Cardiff Central
*Cardiff Queen Street
*Radyr (Cardiff)
*Grangetown (Cardiff)
*Llandudno Junction
*Milford Haven
*Newport (South Wales)
*Wrexham General

tations in England

*Birmingham New Street
*Manchester Piccadilly
*Manchester Oxford Road
*Telford Central
*Warrington Bank Quay
*Wellington (Shropshire)

Rolling stock

As of March 2008, Arriva Trains Wales currently operate a fleet of 123 diesel multiple units. They also own some MK2 coaching stock and have occasionally used hired-in locomotives to run extra services.

Arriva has expanded its Class 150 fleet, with units cascaded from ScotRail and National Express East Anglia early in the franchise. On 10 December 2006, 8 further Class 150s from First Great Western were added, these being sets: 150230/236/240/241/242/251/253/254:
* 4 will operate on the Borderlands Line (Wrexham Central-Bidston)
* 4 will enter service on South Wales valley routes for use on the restored Ebbw Valley Line from February 2008.

In 2006 'heritage' unit 121032 was purchased by Arriva for use on the Cardiff Bay Shuttle. The unit has been repainted into Arriva colours and was hauled to Wales in June 2006 to enter service in July. The unit finally entered service on 17 August 2006 but was withdrawn 2 days later due to a major problem with the engine. The unit re-entered service on the Cardiff Bay line on 14 September 2006.

From November 2007, 10 Class 150/2 units transferred from the West Midlands as the Central Trains franchise came to an end. London Midland (the successor to Central Trains) will utilise Class 170s on Birmingham New Street to Walsall and Stafford services to enable the release of these 10 units. As of March 2008 6 of these units will be sub-leased to First Great Western due to recent bad press over a poor service provided by FGW - with several of these units having been refurbished with Arriva-style seating and corporate exterior livery.


External links

* [ Arriva Trains Wales official website]

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