Disgusted of Llandrindod Wells

(Part of) Wales dragged into the 20th century

Forward Wales! (As far as Cardiff anyway and only in the south).

Yesterday the news came that First Great Western’s route from London Paddington to Cardiff will be electrified. This news is to be welcomed. Wales and the rail route parallel to the M4 is finally being dragged into the mid 20th century.

Unfortunately, our rail services have been suffering from the curses of years of underinvestment in infrastructure, rail franchise operators cutting corners to meet punctuality targets and that peculiarly British curse of being leapfrogged. We led the way in many aspects of technology around the turn of the 20th century but then got leapfrogged by everyone else.

Rail has also been cursed by very short term decision making. A monumental boob was made around the entrance to Cardiff’s Queen Street station junction. The station’s a key hub for the region, moving rail traffic into Cardiff and out of the city towards the central south Wales valleys. A huge chunk of land was sold off to Cardiff University, which built its Senghennydd student digs in the land just north of the station where the track diverges into two. Track capacity is now limited to the current arrangement because we can’t build track through student residence blocks. The only thing we can do – as the Assembly Government has announced – is to revive the former platform at the front of the station to take extra rail traffic.

Apparently the UK Cabinet travelled up to attend a token meeting in Cardiff. They should’ve come on a bank holiday, taking advantage of the lovely rail replacement bus between Bristol Parkway and Cardiff Central. Harriet Harman and Peter Mandelson would most probably have been jostling for the chance to sit at the front of the coach next to our beloved leader Brown.


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Bit slow, considering Wales pioneered the first steam train – named “Penydarren” when Richard Trevithick ran freight and passengers between between Penydarren and Abercynon on 21st February 1804. Needless to say, although parts of the track are still there, tourists and locals would hardly know it had even happened.

Comment by Pelagius

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