New rail investment not good news for Barry sadly
2:58pm Monday 27th January 2014 in Letters
NEWS of a major £220million investment by Network Rail to 'improve' local rail services could actually lead to a worse service for Barry people.
Work will see the re-opening of a platform 3 at Barry Station and a new Loop service connecting Barry Island with Barry Station - presumably similar to the service between Cardiff Queen Street and Cardiff Bay.
The scheme is claimed to be 'congestion busting' and 'will potentially provide hundreds of extra rush-hour seats each day on rail services on the network.'
While any investment in rail infrastructure would seem to be welcome, will the reality of these proposals lead to a worse service for Barry people?
The scheme provides extra capacity for traffic going beyond Barry to the Vale. The line capacity between Barry and Cardiff limits the potential to add extra services to serve the Vale, while running the existing Barry Island service.
The solution? Create a separate service from Barry to Barry Island.
Major problems with this are:
In peak summer severely congested trains will only go to Barry with large crowds having to transfer to the connecting Barry Island loop service. Will there be capacity at Barry Station for large crowds to safely change trains?
At present you can get an early morning and late night train to Barry Island. There is a very strong suspicion that any Loop service would only run during peak hours. Need to get an early train to London from Barry Island? Then you'll have to get a taxi to Barry station it seems.
A Barry Island Loop service will lead to unpleasant extra crowding at Barry Station at peak times.
Lastly, where has there been any consultation on these changes? Have local people been genuinely consulted on major changes to their services?
The new investment is good news for commuters in the Vale and also for anyone travelling by train from Cardiff to Cardiff Airport.
But all this comes at a cost for Barry rail passengers, with the prospect of more crowding at Barry station, safety concerns at peak summer, and a less frequent, probably not outside peak hours service for Barry Island residents.
Rail investment good news for Barry? Maybe not.