Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Cambrian Sleeper service?

A fun filled family holiday near Fort William has been had. On our trips to Morrisons which is next to the railway station you see the Caledonian Sleeper train parked for the day, getting washed and prepared.

It leaves Fort Bill at 7.50pm and get into London 12 hours later at 7.47am, just right for a days work in London. Lets assume you sleep for 9 hours of that time and sleep is never wasted time in my book.

The first Aberystwyth train leaves at 5.15am and gets to London at 10.15am which mean if you need into London for a full days work then you need to leave at 7.30pm the previous day and pay for overnight accommodation in London which in my experience is 2x or 3x the cost of the sleeper. 

So would it be possible for an effective sleeper service to be provided to Wales, even if the train sat in Shrewsbury for 6 hours before being split into 3, 1 north, 1 south and 1 to mid Wales. I fear not for the following reasons

  1. There is no reason for the Welsh government members to fund a service they don't use. After all, who wants to travel to London, the world of business is centered on Cardiff.
  2. Every so often Arriva would forget about the service and 2 days later someone would notice they had left a set of sleeper coaches in a siding full of people.
  3. We are too tied to cars and hotels to seek other options.
  4. The 1st time you use the service, you don't sleep much. Learning to sleep on a train takes a little perseverance.
So the Welsh Government will continue to support a service which has at best marginal utility to promote economic development and those north of the boarder will continue to have a very useful service.

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