‘Pas­sen­gers miss rail stop as plat­forms are too short’

Western Mail - - NEWS - LIZ BRAD­FIELD Lo­cal democ­racy re­porter liz.brad­field@waleson­line.co.uk

PAS­SEN­GERS on new in­ter­city ex­press trains are end­ing up in Swansea after miss­ing their stop in Neath due to short plat­forms, a councillor has claimed.

The Great Western Rail­way trains which run from Lon­don Padding­ton to Swansea were launched six months ago.

The Hi­tachi In­ter­city Ex­press Trains (IET) have 10 car­riages, with each car­riage be­ing three me­tres longer than the older trains, pro­vid­ing ex­tra space for more seats and in­creased le­groom.

But the length of the trains means they can­not all fit onto the plat­form at Neath sta­tion, leav­ing two of the end car­riages hav­ing to be locked when at the sta­tion.

John War­man, county bor­ough councillor for Cimla in Neath, said: “The re­sult is that pas­sen­gers in these two car­riages have to walk a very long way, of­ten car­ry­ing their lug­gage through car­riages which don’t have a lot of space.

“It’s more dif­fi­cult when you’re el­derly or dis­abled, and there have been cases where peo­ple haven’t re­alised and by the time they’ve got through to one of the car­riages which is on the plat­form, the train has moved on.

“Some peo­ple have been stranded in Swansea and have to come back.”

Councillor War­man is call­ing for the plat­forms at Neath rail­way sta­tion to be ex­tended.

He said: “More in­vest­ment is needed in the sta­tion.

“If we have got these trains then we need to have the fa­cil­i­ties for pas­sen­gers to use them which en­able them to get off in safety and with ease.

“The sta­tion is well used by peo­ple and I don’t want to see pas­sen­gers in­con­ve­nienced.”

He added that a wait­ing-room on the plat­form where trains stop head­ing to Cardiff and Lon­don was also needed, and he said that pas­sen­gers are cur­rently hav­ing to use one on the other side.

Ac­cord­ing to Net­work Rail’s En­hance­ment De­liv­ery Plan, Neath is listed for a plat­form ex­ten­sion to al­low for 10-car In­ter­city Ex­press Trains (IET) un­der Phase 2 of the IET Western Ca­pa­bil­ity pro­gramme. A date for this work is yet to be fi­nalised.

Net­work Rail said in­vest­ment in the rail­way would be a fund­ing de­ci­sion for the UK gov­ern­ment.

Bethan Jelfs, cus­tomer ser­vices di­rec­tor at Ar­riva Trains Wales, said: “We have worked closely with our part­ners in GWR and Net­work Rail to en­sure cus­tomers at Neath can board and alight from the new GWR train.”

And a GWR spokesman said: “Thou­sands of trains longer than sta­tion plat­forms op­er­ate ev­ery day across the UK rail net­work.

“Cus­tomers are in­formed by an­nounce­ments both on board and at sta­tions, prior to de­par­ture and prior to ar­rival, on oc­ca­sions when car­riages can­not be plat­formed.”

> The plat­form at Neath sta­tion which is too short for new in­ter­city trains

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