Update 17 June 2018
I asked KeolisAmey for some details of the trains to run through Ludlow. Here is the response:
1) What model of trains will you be running on the line from Cardiff through Ludlow to Shrewsbury and further north? How will these be powered?
2) What is the planned date for the introduction of this model of train?
These new trains will be introduced between July 2021 and May 2022, replacing existing trains and providing additional services such as direct services to Liverpool.
Original post 23 May 2018
We have been waiting for this for a while. Arriva Wales seemed to have given up on improving its service through Wales and the Welsh Marches. Now a new company, KeolisAmey, will take run the trains from October. It is an overdue change but we don’t have any details of the new service yet. But I have a shopping list of improvements.
This a true European contract. German Arriva is being replaced by French company Keolis in partnership with Spanish Amey. KeolisAmey, as the new partnership is called, is a joint venture partnership of international public transport operator Keolis, and infrastructure asset management specialist Amey. The contract will run from 4 June 2018 to 14 October 2033. Rail services will transfer from Arriva Wales on 14 October 2018.
Wales Online says: “With rail operating subsidies, commissioning of new roll stocking and additional rail investment, it could be worth around £5bn over the next 15 years.”
We don’t know any details of the new services. But should know in around a month, providing the losing bidder doesn’t go to the courts.
We need a change. Arriva was good when it first came to the Welsh Marches. But it had failed to invest and became lacklustre.
In Ludlow, there are sometimes gaps of more than an hour between trains. We need a regular half hourly service.
The first train from Ludlow to Shrewsbury arrives at 6:43am. If it was scheduled just a few minutes earlier it would arrive in time for the 6.39am direct train to London. That would be a great benefit for people in rural areas who need to do business in London.
We must have a timetable for the Welsh Marches that connects people in rural areas to the big business hubs.
We also need to improve the area around Ludlow Station. Pedestrians are subservient to the car on the station frontage. Walking along Station Road across the car park frontage is dangerous. There is no identified pedestrian space. Ludlow21 has been trying to get this resolved for years.
In our fractured rail system, the car park area is owned by Network Rail. The company has been intransigent about making improvements. Is it too much to hope that the new franchise holder will negotiate with Network Rail to create a more welcoming environment around the station?