Sunday Trains Campaign
WORDS: Tom Williams (Youth Editorial Group)
I recently started a campaign to drive for more trains on a Sunday on the Arriva Trains Valleys Lines Service. I am the campaign leader, but also one of the Welsh Assembly’s Climate Change Champions for 2008. This is a campaign well underway, and this feature is to recruit more people to the cause and update the public on the campaign’s progress.
Why more trains?
I saw the need to launch this campaign because the service is just so poor on a Sunday. Demand for Sunday trains is greater than ever, and as a Climate Champion I realised the environmental impact of the reduced service. This campaign has a lot of support, because the poor service is something that affects almost everyone these days, even if it’s just going to town. It is socially inconvenient, but through this campaign I hope to be able to send out an environmental message, because the cars we have to use instead release unnecessary CO2 into the atmosphere. It should be something playing on all of our minds. With the trains and the track already there and with increases in public transport needed, this is such an easy option.
The Sunday Train service as it is: The facts:
There is no Coryton train at all on a Sunday, and the Bargoed Service, running through Heath High Level, is once every two hours. This is the only train to run through Heath High Level on a Sunday, and the once every two hours it offers is opposed to once every 15 minutes from Heath High Level Monday to Saturday. In addition, the Pontypridd service runs at erratic times on a Sunday, averaging once every 45 minutes.
My campaign progress:
I have been in contact with the Rail & New Roads Division Business Unit, and they say fewer trains on Sundays compared to Monday-Saturday are for “historical reasons”. But history’s history, and I am campaigning because things are different today.
Shops have been open on a Sunday in the city centre for well over ten years now, with extended opening hours and sales even on Sundays. Even if you believe Sunday should be a religious day then note that there are 16 churches in town alone.
As the Echo mention, I wrote to Sewta, a consortium of 10 local authorities in South East Wales, and they say my call for more Sunday trains ‘will be considered when they compile their new Regional Transport Plan.’
“We are delighted to hear from Tom and his ideas on the future of transport in South East Wales,” said a spokesman. “We will consider his input as part of the consultation process for the Regional Transport Plan.”
So, I must sit and wait for a response after the Regional Transport Plan, but whilst I do that, I am trying to get people on side, and spread the word on this popular issue.
There is also a Facebook group setup in support of this campaign. Currently there are over a hundred members. Please invite everyone you know to join this. Post this article and post this group to your profile.
I also ran a small poll here on theSprout. 28 voted yes, there should be more trains running on a Sunday, and one voted no. The results speak for themselves!
For updates on any news, check out the facebook group, or the Institute Of Welsh Affairs (IWA), for whom I am writing a blog on this. It should be on there shortly.