‘Passengers miss rail stop as platforms are too short’
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