Pandemic underscores inequality of rail investment in Wales claims MP.
Plaid Cymru MP for Arfon Hywel Williams has called on the Welsh government to urgently investigate concerns about the effectiveness of Covid-secure measures onboard Transport for Wales trains operating along the north Wales coast main line.
Mr Williams has received complaints from constituents who describe conditions onboard TfW services from Crewe to Bangor as ‘dangerous’, with reports of no means of social distancing, no ability to book seats in advance and no additional carriages to allow for safe travel, despite TfW policy making it clear that passenger numbers should be restricted in-line with Welsh government advice.
Hywel Williams MP said:
‘I am extremely concerned to hear very worrying reports from constituents about the apparent lack of Covid safety measures onboard TfW train services operating along the north Wales main line and in particular, services from Crewe to Bangor in my constituency.’
‘I understand from passengers that some services originating in Crewe over the weekend were at full capacity, with no means of properly enforcing social distancing measures, leaving those onboard with no alternative but to sit side by side and stand in the aisles.’
‘This dire service is bad enough under normal circumstances, but to expect passengers to endure cramped conditions for over two hours on a poorly ventilated train with next to no social distancing in the middle of a public health crisis, is a disgrace.’
‘TfW themselves have previously acknowledged that capacity on public transport services throughout Wales remains limited to allow for safe social distancing, yet here we have evidence of a direct breach of that policy with no contingency measures to accommodate passenger demand.’
‘With Wales’ railways in receipt of a measly 1% of UK government investment despite having 11% of the rail network, the long-term solution to improving services is to fully devolve responsibility to the Welsh government.'
'But in the meantime, I urge TfW and the Welsh government to urgently review their onboard Covid safety protocols so that passengers can travel safely and in confidence, in-line with government travel regulations.’