Header
Aiming to bring sense and order to our train services
Home
News
Cross Country
Bristol FGW
Local Arriva TW
Chepstow Station
Comments
Timetables
Get Involved
 
Archive
Website Links

 

Updated 27th January 2013

CrossCountry Logo

XCountry Stops at Chepstow

WHY IT MAKES SENSE FOR CROSS COUNTRY TRAINS TO SERVE CHEPSTOW.

Introduction.

Since 2004 we have campaigned to have all the Cross Country trains stop at Chepstow instead of passing through the town. Anyone familiar with Chepstow, and who has seen how slowly the trains pass through, knows that it makes sense to stop for passengers.

In May 2011 CrossCountry substantially improved train services at Chepstow by introducing 14 extra train stops at the town for a trial period. We are pleased that this trial has been a success for passengers and for CrossCountry with a substantial increase in the number of passengers using these services particularly for the longer distances to Birmingham and Cardiff. CrossCountry appear to be extending the trial through 2013 but we would like to see it made permanent and for it to be extended to include all their trains, not just the extra 14.

Train travellers have now become aware of the advantages that these services bring in terms of reducing travel times to Birmingham and beyond.,

The BT4C team has assembled the following list of reasons:- “Why Stop at Chepstow?” to promote its campaign and to support the belief that the proposal has advantages and no disadvantages.

WHY CROSS COUNTRY SHOULD SERVE CHEPSTOW.

1. Enhancement to the Franchise

Integrating Chepstow into the regular schedule in this new franchise will be a positive enhancement to this important CrossCountry route bringing new customers to the route throughout the day.

It will benefit residents and businesses around Chepstow and bring more people from South Wales and the Midlands to enjoy the attractions of the town, the Wye Valley and The Forest of Dean.

Residents will find it easier and more attractive to use the train to visit and attend events in Cardiff and Birmingham.

Improving the CrossCountry route with this additional and attractive destination should bring benefits to CrossCountry in terms of extra revenue and prestige.

2. The Change Will Cost Little or Nothing.

It will cost very little and will be simple to implement. We see no reason why the change couldn’t be implemented immediately.

3. No Detrimental Impact.

There is little or no need to increase the overall journey time through making extra stops at Chepstow because all trains have to reduce speed to 30mph through the station and the present schedules have margins for recovering lost time. There is for instance 6 minutes margin in the existing schedule between Chepstow and Gloucester.

If it is deemed necessary to maintain these timetabled recovery margins then it will be necessary to add just two minutes to the schedule in each direction. (1 minute to set down and pick up passengers and a further minute to slow down and accelerate away). It is possible these 4 minutes (2 minutes each way) could be found by reducing the 20 minute turn round time at Cardiff.

4. Chepstow Station is perfectly situated in the CrossCountry Route and at the Heart of the Town.

The CrossCountry passenger franchise links main towns and other parts of the rail network from Cardiff through to Birmingham and Nottingham. Chepstow is the largest most important town in the 45 mile section between Gloucester and Newport and situated roughly midway between them. The train station is well placed for the town being just 300 metres walk to Beaufort Square at the heart of Chepstow.

5. Visitor Attractions

The town of Chepstow which as well as being a prosperous and expanding town with its own visitor attractions ( Chepstow Racecourse, Norman Castle etc.) is a stepping off point for visitors to the Lower Wye Valley AONB, Tintern Abbey, and into The Forest of Dean National Park. It therefore has great potential for attracting visitors by rail from the Midlands as well as catering for the local business people needing to journey to Cheltenham, Birmingham and beyond.

6. Enhanced Timetable.

The pattern of the new timetable from Chepstow would be for a fast train and slow train each way each hour (when the slow ones run). Up to Gloucester:- xx.49 slow, xx.18fast. Down to Newport:- xx.27 slow, xx.50 fast.
[BT4C is also seeking improvements in the Chepstow stopping services operated by Arriva Trains Wales and would like to see their service match the hourly regularity of the Cross Country trains.]

7. Trains have an Advantage at Chepstow.

You may not realise that Chepstow already suffers from the much heralded road pricing! Its residents pay a toll (now over £6) every time they come home across the Severn Bridge.

People who regularly drive to work in Cheltenham or Birmingham often return to Chepstow via Gloucester or Ross on Wye (a longer distance) to avoid it. The toll is therefore an extra cost and a deterrent for car travellers: a potential advantage for CrossCountry operating this franchise to Chepstow.

8. No Competing Express Coach Service.

Express coach services operate from Chepstow to Cardiff, Swansea, Gatwick and London. Services to the Midlands currently operate from Monmouth which is inconvenient to passengers from this area.

9. To Encourage People to Come to Chepstow by Train.

Improved and more frequent train services will make it easier for holiday makers, shoppers and tourists to visit the town and the surrounding area with the advantage of not adding to the present congestion of the roads and car parks. The recent £2.35M Regeneration Scheme has made the town more attractive and generated economic potential. New businesses are coming to the town.

10. Tourist and Visitor Potential.

Very few tourists visit this area from abroad. A recent survey found that only 3% of visitors to the Wye Valley AONB were from overseas. This suggests there is much potential for increasing the tourist trade. Between 2008 and 2012 £2.8m has been invested in the “Overlooking the Wye” project to conserve and improve access along the Wye Valley with the aim of attracting more visitors. An improved train service coupled with appropriate advertising could help achieve the aims of the project reap benefits to the train operator.

11. Alleviation of Road Traffic Congestion. Environmental Impact.

Road transport congestion on the A48, locally, and on the M4, M5 and routes into the conurbations of Newport, Cardiff and Birmingham with the concomitant impact upon environmental pollution is a growing concern to the population at large.

Taking the simple and obvious step of offering passengers a better train service will be a small step in the direction of allowing people a choice to use public transport instead of a private car.

12. To Make Better Use of this Section of Railway.

The fixed cost of maintaining, renewing and operating the rail infrastructure (stations, bridges, track and signalling for the section of line between Gloucester and Severn Tunnel Junction must run into £millions per annum.
It is wasteful not to harness these valuable assets to the full. It makes sense to stop more trains at Chepstow where there is an opportunity for additional passenger traffic and an opportunity to increase revenue without any extra cost.

______________________________________________________________________

OUR AIM
It is our aim to have an extra regular hourly train service in both directions from Chepstow to Newport, Cardiff and Gloucester. This means the people of Chepstow will once more be able to make journeys by train to and from Cheltenham, Birmingham (and beyond) without having to get off anywhere to change trains .

______________________________________________________________________

IF OUR PROPOSALS ARE IMPLEMENTED

 The number of trains stopping at Chepstow on weekdays will increase from 28 to 56.

Train travel times to Birmingham will be reduced to 1 hour 35 minutes).

There will be an hourly through service to Birmingham and Nottingham.

The town will have an additional and regular hourly service to Newport and Cardiff.

CrossCountry now run an express train linking Cardiff through Birmingham to Nottingham and the change simply involves stopping at Chepstow.

The remarkable fact is that the change will cost next to nothing and substantially improve the train services for the town.

_______________________________________________________________________

 

 

Supporters of the campaign include:-

David T C DAVIES MP
Nick RAMSAY AM 
Monmouthshire County Council.
Chepstow Town Council,
Chepstow Chamber of Commerce and Tourism.
Tourism Manager, Forest of Dean,
Severn Tunnel Action Team,
Chepstow and District Rotary Club
Chepstow Chamber of Commerce & Tourism
Transition Chepstow

 

 Return to Top

Footer