The new W&B franchise has identified two train per hour on the Wrexham-Bidston line; but one service is identified as ‘limited stop’.
The figures below (taken from Office of Rail and Road data) identify the problem in trying to identify which stations to miss out on the line with a limited stop service.
From these figures the only stations less than 10,000 are Cefn-Y-Bedd and Hawarden Bridge. Hawarden Bridge is already missed by most trains and missing out Cefn-Y-Bedd as well does not represent a limited stop service. Based on current usage, it will be difficult to call at say Hope (which could generate additional traffic with the nearby housing/high school) and Penyffordd (which has the space for park and ride facilities for the significant population nearby; including Mold) yet not call at other stations which currently have a higher footfall and also have potential for growth (which includes all stops in England).
The limited stop service will save end to end journey time and enable a robust service to be maintained with the introduction of the new Deeside Parkway Station (which will incur extra minutes in the current tight timetable); however it will deny a frequent service for those stations it misses and thus fail to attract many potential passengers, including residents in the communities along the route who work at the DIP who could use the train to Deeside Parkway or those who would wish to interchange with the North Wales Main Line at Shotton. From the current station usage figures, population spread and the inter-station distances, there appears little scope to miss out stations without unfairly penalising the population who would potentially use a more frequent service at the stations being missed.
The WBRUA’s view is that the 2tph service should serve all stations including Deeside Parkway (possibly missing Hawarden Bridge which is close to Shotton) and some way must be found to reduce the end to end journey time for the all station service (i.e. line speed increases/better train performance) to facilitate this. The WBRUA understand that the class 230 train, which the franchise will use, will out-accelerate the existing class 150 and this, together with modest line speed improvements, may mean an end-to-end journey time calling at all stations, including Deeside Parkway, which is sufficiently under an hour to allow for turn-rounds and some recovery time could be possible.
07 June 2018
Statement from the WBRUA regarding the proposed additional limit stop service