LLAnBranches – Going West?

Class 150 approaching Whitland from the Pembroke Dock branch
Sprinter To Swansea: A class 150 about to leave the Pembroke Dock branch and join the main line to Swansea
I am part way through the January 2015 issue of ‘Modern Railways’. On page 14, there is a piece hailing the success of Community Rail Partnerships. Over six years (2006/07 to 2012/13) they report an overall patronage growth across the regional passenger sector of the UK rail network of 23%. Within that though, the use of lines supported by Community Rail Partnerships grew by 45%. Further growth on many of the lines is apparently now being hampered by the national shortage of DMU stock.

Flags and flowers at Fishguard & Goodwick station
Community Involvement: Flags and Flowers at Fishguard & Goodwick station
It is a shame then that one of Wales’ Community Rail Partnerships, the one covering the Pembrokeshire branches (including, if I recall correctly, the line from Swansea to Carmarthen) appears to have become defunct. It was called ‘All Points West’, but I noticed some time ago that their website URL now pointed to something totally irrelevant. Arriva Trains Wales’ website still mentions ‘All Points West’ but they have since removed the hyperlink when they learned that the ‘All Points West’ site was gone. They obviously had no money for web hosting, and I don’t think they exist any more at all. They were, if I recall correctly, either part of or supported by SWWITCH, the South West Wales Integrated Transport Consortium. SWWITCH itself now appears to have gone the way of the dodo. There now doesn’t seem to be any single co-ordinated body promoting the rail network in the bottom left-hand corner of Wales, just a handful of independent, mostly informal, groups.

Class 150 unloads passengers at Fishguard & Goodwick
Local Traffic: Passengers alight from a class 150 at Fishguard & Goodwick station
In terms of promotion, as I remarked in one of my ‘Trains For Fishguard’ videos, it is a shame that the lines do not have a marketing name. Another of Wales’ Community Rail Partnerships is a great example of the opposite end of the scale: ‘The Heart Of Wales Line’. That has to be one of the best marketing names out there, but south-west Wales has nothing.

The best idea I’ve come up so far is to resurrect ‘All Points West’ as ‘LLAnBranches CRP’, the Landsker Line And Branches Community Rail Partnership. A bit of a mouthful, but the main route from Llanelli through to Clarbeston Road could be simply the ‘Landsker Line’ as it roughly follows the boundary between the areas where Welsh is spoken more (north of the line) or less (south of the line).

Flowers decorating the platform at Fishguard & Goodwick
Platform Plants: decoration at Fishguard & Goodwick
Perhaps trying to bring about the ‘LLAnBranches CRP’ is something to add to my already stupidly long to-do list for 2015. I’m REALLY slow, so I might need 100 of me to get all my work done. In other words, it is unlikely I will get round to doing anything about it. Still, at least I’ve managed a blog post to start the new year, and it wasn’t even the rant about the new TrawsCymru T5 service I’d expected to post, so that is still to come. I hope 2015 will be a happy year for you, me and the rest of life on earth.

2 thoughts on “LLAnBranches – Going West?”

  1. Hi I’m a Community Rail Officer based in Greater Manchester, I’m quite a regular visitor to to your area and I was looking around for signs of Community Rail activity, did you manage to find time to resurrect APW?
    It’s a shame there isn’t more activity, when you see how much benefit areas such as Heart of Wales or Cornwall derive from Community Rail.

  2. If I’m honest, if I tried to establish a CRP I wouldn’t know where to start.

    I did, eventually (November 2016!), contact the Association Of Community Rail Partnerships who confirmed that All Points West folded several years ago due to lack of funding from partners.

    There is however, depending on your definition of ‘community rail’, a small amount of ‘activity’. The Arriva Trains Wales website lists many of the stations in the area as adopted (only Narberth, Kilgetty, Clarbeston Road and Saundersfoot are listed as being available for adoption). I would be interested to know who adopted Whitland station.

    There are also two user groups, Pembrokeshire Rail Travellers Association (PRTA) and NPTF North Pembrokeshire Transport Forum (NPTF). The NPTF, at least, were involved in the campaign for Fishguard’s enhanced rail service (and Fishguard & Goodwick station), but I still have no idea how they campaign for improvements. All I can say is that it obviously works, at least some of the time, so well done to them.

    Thank you for getting in touch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *