Mark Williams, Member of Parliament for Ceredigion, has raised concerns over the potential franchise remapping of the Aberystwyth to Birmingham rail service in the House of Commons and with Ministers.
The current service, which connects the Cambrian Line between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury to Birmingham International and Birmingham New Street stations, has come under threat due to discussions between the UK and Welsh Government’s to create a neat franchise boundary splitting Wales and England. This is in anticipation of the Welsh Government becoming the franchising authority for Wales and the borders by 2017.
Mark said “I very much welcome the fact that Welsh Ministers are likely to become the franchising authority for Wales and the borders by 2017. However, there are real concerns that the current franchise will be split. The Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth Rail Passenger Association (SARPA) is especially concerned that this could mean that all trains on the Cambrian Line would terminate at Shrewsbury, cutting out our very important link with Birmingham.
“According to SARPA, seventy-five per cent of passengers on the Cambrian Line are making cross-border journeys, and two-thirds of tourism into Ceredigion comes from the West Midlands. I would be seriously worried about the impact that splitting the franchise would have to our tourist trade, and I have written to both Welsh and UK Ministers to ensure that these concerns are being addressed in their discussions.”