Rail travel back from Abergavenny

Even when the numbers were smaller there was always an issue at Abergavenny with too many people with too much stuff trying to cram onto the Newport train.  As festival numbers have increased the situation has got even worse. This is not helped by an hour's gap in the timetable between 11 and 12 and the number of carriages being only 2 or 3.  This Monday was HORRENDOUS not helped by the 10.58 being delayed by bout 20 minutes too.

I was really lucky.  As an old gimmer I now have a stick (great for navigating slippery mud on the slopes btw).  There was also a family with a 9 month old going onto Bristol so the baby could have hole in the heart repaired the following day.  The security and rail guards were superb.  We couldn't get on the delayed 10.58 but they made sure me and the family were on the next one.

I can't see the situation improving even with staggered leaving times and staggered shuttle bus arrivals.  There were 200 people on the platform for most of the morning.

Is this something the festival organisers should be taking up with Transport for Wales? I am assuming that they pay for the extra staffing at the station anyway? The festival happens every year so isn't there scope for adedicated train or two on the Monday or at least a couple of extra carriages?  I want to travel green to Green Man and as there are no coaches running from my town anymore the train is the only option.

I may be wrong on this but I seem to recall one year there were a couple of extra trains added, I was on one and it was almost empty because there'd only been one shuttle bus since the last train. I suspect that might be why we didn't see it again.

I think the problem with putting on more carriages is that some of the stations further along the route only have long enough platforms for a 2 or 3 carriage train. It seems pretty obvious to me that what's needed is for a train to shuttle between Newport and Abergavenny all morning. I think the line is double-track all the way and there's clearly space in the timetable, so can't see what the problem is other than cost and availability of rolling stock.

I now go via Crewe which is not as bad- weirdly the train on Thursday was standing-room-only but on Monday there were plenty of seats, I think because there was another one half an hour before it. Having done it both ways, the problem is definitely in the Newport direction.

Thinking outside the box, how would running half the shuttle buses direct to Newport go down? It's half an hour further each way and you'd need to hire more buses, but since a lot of the time is spent getting people on and off the buses it may be more viable than you'd expect?

There are numerous complexities associated with running additional or longer trains but blackcatista has identifies the two main ones - cost and availability of rolling stock.

Rolling stock is hugely expensive to lease, store, and maintain so operators 'sweat the assets' to the maximum to minimise costs. Unless a requirement to retain additional capacity to cope with special events is written into a franchise specification by governments, operators will not have the capacity to do so. In some cases a lower availability requirement for weekend services can free up some capacity for special events but with Green Man requirements being on weekdays that's no help here.

Occasionally trains will be hired in from a heritage operator but moving them, stabling them, and operating them is costly and would people pay a premium fare to cover the costs or just wait for a cheaper 'regular' service and endure the overcrowding? 

I think the idea of extending some of the shuttle buses to Newport is a really good one and would be much easier to organise. I'm sure it would help the festival's PR in terms of relations with the regular rail users at Abergavanny who are impacted by the crowding before and after the festival. It's worth putting on the feedback survey when it comes out I think.

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Actually I think an early slot for forum veterans to maon on about gig talkers, trollies, buggies, parents with toddlers, noisy camping neighbours and generally things aren't what they used to be would be a terrfic draw in Babbling tongues.


I know that Scotrail run a special non-stop shuttle between Glasgow Central and Hampden Park (well, Mount Florida) whenever there's a big event there, so presumably that's written into their agreement?

So the answer is nationalisation..... or failing that it's bypassing the problem with shuttle buses.

The point about relations with users in Abergavenny is a good one- I've heard some real hostility muttered under breaths at the station.

Shuttle buses great idea.  BTW I think I love you lot.  THe long gone and must lamented Luminaire in Kilburn had these signs scattered about :


We are a live venue not a pub.

If you have come to chat to your pals when the bands are on you're in the wrong place.

Please leave.