Arriva Trains Wales

Franchise(s):Wales and Borders
8 December 2003 –
31 December 2018
Main Region(s):Wales
Other Region(s):North West, West Midlands
Fleet size:4 Template:BRC
1 Template:BRC Bubble Car
15 Template:BRC Pacers
15 Template:BRC Pacers
31 Template:BRC Sprinters
8 Template:BRC Super Sprinters
24 Template:BRC Express Sprinters
27 Template:BRC Coradias
Stations operated:244
Passenger km 2007/8:846.1 million
Route km operated:1670.8
National Rail abbreviation:AW
Parent company:DB Arriva

Arriva Trains Wales (Template:Lang-cy) is a train operating company that operates urban and inter urban passenger services in Wales and the Welsh Marches. Its busiest stations are Cardiff Central, Cardiff Queen Street and Newport. Routes are also concentrated on Shrewsbury, Crewe, Chester and Wrexham General.

Description Edit

The company took over operation of the reorganised Wales and Border railway franchise from the company of the same name in December 2003.[1] Responsibility for this franchise has been devolved to the Welsh Assembly Government as a result of the Railways Act 2005 and the Transport (Wales) Act 2006,[2] and they work closely with Arriva Trains Wales to develop the railway network within Wales. This has included the introduction of direct services between North and South Wales,[3] and the reintroduction of passenger services on freight-only portions of the Vale of Glamorgan Line and Ebbw Vale Line.

It operates on a gauge of 1435 mm, over a route length: 1691 km, with 253 DMU cars and 22 passenger coaches.

Arriva Trains Wales operates almost all services in Wales, with the exception of:

Performance Edit

In October 2006 the company was ranked seventh best (out of 21 companies) with an above average 89.9% of trains 'on time' according to Network Rail statistics.[4] The latest figures released by the ORR (Office of Rail Regulation) rate punctuality (PPM) at 95.1% for the fourth quarter of the 2009/10 financial year.[5] Their MAA (Monthly Annual Average) figure up to 31 March 2010 is currently at 94.9%.[6] However, the Cambrian Main Line is still a poor performer, with anecdotal evidence suggesting punctuality levels as low as 60%.[7]

Takeover Edit

Deutsche Bahn has agreed a £1.59bn deal to buy Arriva, in a move which marks the transfer from one multi-national to another.[8]

Welsh language services Edit

File:Llandudno Junction bilingual station sign.jpg

The Welsh Language Act 1993 requires all public bodies to provide services to the public through the medium of Welsh as well as English. Due to the privatisation of the railways, Arriva is not legally required to provide service in Welsh.[9] Arriva does however conduct some business in Welsh. All stations in Wales where the Welsh and English names differ have both names displayed, with a few minor omissions (only the Welsh spelling Fflint is displayed at Flint railway station).[9] Arriva do not display Welsh names in the English stations which they manage, such as Chester (Welsh:Caer) or Hereford (Welsh:Henffordd).[10]

Arriva Trains Wales has introduced bilingual display screens and announcements in at least 46 stations,[11] but these do not include some stations such as Bangor in traditionally Welsh-speaking areas. Long-distance services on Class 175 trains now show both Welsh and English names on their on-train display boards (e.g. Manceinion/Manchester Piccadilly), but the audio announcements are in English only.[citation needed]

In 2004, Arriva introduced a Welsh language phone line.[11] Their website was named the "Best Website of The Year in the Technology Wales Awards 2004".[12] Arriva report that approximately 4% of their customers use the Welsh website;[13]

Routes Edit

North Wales Edit

Services along the North Wales Coast Line terminate at Holyhead and Llandudno. Llandudno services run every hour to Manchester Piccadilly via Chester and Warrington Bank Quay. Holyhead services run every hour, to Shrewsbury via Chester and Wrexham General, then alternately to Birmingham International or Cardiff Central. Request stations west of Llandudno Junction (Conwy, Penmaenmawr, Llanfairfechan, Llanfairpwll, Bodorgan, Ty Croes, Rhosneigr and Valley) are generally served by alternate trains.

The Conwy Valley Line is operated by a single train running between Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog, with six return journeys a day. The Ffestiniog Railway operates connecting services between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Porthmadog.

Services on the Borderlands Line run from Wrexham Central to Bidston on the Wirral Peninsula, crossing the North Wales Coast Line at Shotton. This line connects with electrified lines operated by Merseyrail at Bidston, and may be converted to electric operation in the future.[14]

Mid Wales Edit

Cambrian Line services consist of trains from Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury, Birmingham New Street and Birmingham International every two hours. Services from Pwllheli join this train at Dovey Junction or Machynlleth. Services are operated by Class 158 ExpressSprinter DMUs, as they are fitted with the necessary equipment for the Radio Electronic Token Block signalling used on the line.

The single-tracked nature of this line, coupled with the busy terminus at Birmingham New Street meant that delays could result in partial cancellation of services on this line. From December 2008, most services have been extended to the less busy Birmingham International station, giving more flexibility in making up any lost time; this measure was also introduced to help international students at Aberystwyth University gain easier access to an airport.[15] Trial of the ERTMS traffic management system is under way on the Cambrian Line,[16] and this may further alleviate these problems.

The Heart of Wales Line has services from Swansea to Shrewsbury via Llanelli and Llandrindod four or five times a day. It is marketed by Arriva Trains Wales as a scenic, rural line, with special rover tickets available.[17][18]

The main servicing depot for Class 158 ExpressSprinter DMU's is also behind Machynlleth Station.

South Wales Edit

As of September 2008, Arriva Trains Wales operates an hourly long-distance services from Carmarthen to Manchester Piccadilly via Cardiff Central and the Welsh Marches Line. Some off-peak services terminate at or originate from Cardiff Central, and continue to or come from Milford Haven every two hours.

Arriva also operates a service every two hours from Cardiff Central to Holyhead via Wrexham General.

Other branches of the West Wales Line as served by services from Swansea and Cardiff Central. Trains operate a shuttle service between Swansea and Cardiff Central (known as Swanline), calling at more minor stations than the First Great Western Intercity services do.

Arriva also operates on the Heart of Wales line between Shrewsbury and Swansea via Llandrindod with four trains per day each direction. Special Royal Welsh Trains extending into South East Wales operate to Builth Road station during the Royal Welsh Show annually in July.

Cardiff and Valleys Edit

See also: Rail transport in Cardiff
File:142077 Penarth.JPG
File:142069 C Interior.JPG
File:150258 C Cardiff Queen Street.JPG
File:150283 C X Interior.JPG

The Valley Lines network, previously operated as a separate franchise, are a collection of urban lines in Cardiff and the surrounding area, including the South Wales Valleys and the Vale of Glamorgan. Arriva Trains Wales also operate a service from Maesteg to Cheltenham Spa. Stations in the valleys north of Cardiff have seen sustained strong growth and demand for services. The extent of which is now demonstrated by a half-hourly service on the fringes of the network (Pontypridd-Treherbert, Abercynon-Aberdare, Abercynon-Merthyr Tydfil and in the future Bargoed to Rhymney). Service frequency growth at the fringes is a significant problem because of often-lengthy single-track sections. Between the larger towns and Cardiff these services combine to provide at least a train every 15 minutes with six trains per hour between Pontypridd and Cardiff and four trains per hour between Bargoed and Cardiff. Stations on the Treherbert and Rhymney branch lines have been lengthened to accommodate six-car trains to cope with future growth demand for commuting into and out of the capital.

On 6 February 2008, the Ebbw Valley Railway was partially re-opened to passenger services for the first time in over 40 years. The route provides an hourly service to Cardiff Central calling at Ebbw Vale Parkway railway station, Llanhilleth, Newbridge, Crosskeys, Risca and Pontymister, and Rogerstone and Cardiff Central. One year after opening the line had carried 573,442 passengers smashing all targets set by the Welsh Assembly Government. Services on Saturday run as four-carriage formations instead of the standard two, extra carriages are also added during school holidays when demand is high.[19] Developments on the line also include restoring the service between Ebbw Vale and Newport — the proposal awaits Network Rail and Welsh Assembly Government approval. If implemented it would provide an hourly service between Newport and Ebbw Vale.

Marches and Border Edit

Services between Chester and Newport form part of other services already mentioned, such as Holyhead to Cardiff Central, or Milford Haven to Manchester Piccadilly. Coming north, after calling at Shrewsbury (for connections to Mid-Wales) trains for North Wales go to Chester via Wrexham General, and trains for Manchester go to Crewe.

Special services Edit

For special events such as football or rugby matches, Arriva is known to operate additional services to the venue. Wales and Borders had arranged in the past a stopping service to Edinburgh Waverley. Numerous other services have been operated. Arriva usually operates shuttle services to Newport on match days. Some of these services were operated using locos and hauled stock - usually on loan.

Past services Edit

Template:Expand section Arriva Trains Wales used to operate services from Manchester Piccadilly, Pembroke Dock, Carmarthen and Swansea to London Waterloo, Brighton, Portsmouth Harbour, Plymouth and Penzance via Cardiff, Bristol and Westbury. Services south of Cardiff are now operated by First Great Western, while a Bristol Temple Meads to Waterloo service is provided by South West Trains.

Rejected services Edit

Arriva announced their intention to reinstate a direct Aberystwyth to London service serving all stations to Birmingham International and additionally calling at Leamington Spa and Bicester North on its way to London Marylebone.[20] Two off peak-time trains would have operated each day, while a further service would have been added Saturdays in high Summer. Rolling stock would have been Class 158 Sprinters the same as Wales and Borders used on the Manchester to London Waterloo/Penzance services in the 90s and 00s.

It has been said that if Arriva Trains Wales was granted this service, it could push Wrexham - London operator Wrexham & Shropshire out of business with Wrexham & Shropshire Managing Director, Andy Hamilton, saying "We believe that this proposal - if approved - would push the date of profitability of WSMR by at least a year. As a result of this our owning group would be unable to sustain additional and continuing losses and the WSMR service would cease to exist."[21]

However, the route was rejected by the Office of Rail Regulation in March 2010 due to concerns about the financial viability of the service and the potentially high level of revenue abstraction from other operators.[22]

Stations served Edit

Stations in Wales Edit

See also: List of railway stations in Wales

Stations in England Edit

Managed by Arriva Trains Wales Edit

Managed by other companies Edit

Rolling stock Edit

As of March 2008, Arriva Trains Wales currently operate a fleet of 123 diesel multiple units. They also own some Mark 2 coaching stock which is used for their locomotive-hauled express services between Holyhead and Cardiff, and have occasionally used hired-in locomotives to run extra services for sporting events.

Class Image Type Top speed Number Routes operated Unit numbers Built
mph km/h
Class 57/3 118px Diesel locomotive 95 152 4 North - South premier service 57313/314/315/316 1997-2004
Class 121 Bubble car 118px Diesel multiple unit 70 112 1 Cardiff Queen Street - Cardiff Bay 121032[23] 1958-1960
Class 142 Pacer 118px Diesel multiple unit 75 120 15 Valleys & Cardiff Local Routes

South Wales local services
142002 / 006 / 010 / 069 / 072 - 077 / 080 - 083 / 085[24] 1985
Class 143 Pacer 118px Diesel multiple unit 75 120 15 Valleys & Cardiff Local Routes

South Wales local services
143601 /602 / 604 - 610 / 614 / 616 / 622 - 625[25] (615 was scrapped following a fire) 1985
Class 150/2 Sprinter 118px Diesel multiple unit 75 120 31 Valleys & Cardiff Local Routes

Non-express and suburban services across the Arriva Trains Wales network
150208 / 213 / 217 / 227 / 230 - 231 / 235 - 237 / 240 - 242 / 245 / 250 - 260 / 262 / 264 / 267 / 278 - 281 / 283 - 285[26] 1983-85
Class 153 Super Sprinter 118px Diesel multiple unit 75 120 8 Arriva Trains Wales' routes outside the Valleys & Cardiff Local Routes network 153303 / 312 / 320 / 323 / 327 / 353 / 362 / 367[27] 1987 - 1988
Class 158 Express Sprinter 118px Diesel multiple unit 90 145 24 Arriva Trains Wales' long distance and mainline express routes 158818 - 841[28] 1989 - 1992
Class 175 Coradia 118px Diesel multiple unit 100 160 27 Arriva Trains Wales' mainline express routes 175001 - 011 / 175101 - 116[29] 1999 - 2001
Mark 2 Coach 118px Passenger Coach 100 160 22 North - South premier service 5853 / 5869 / 5913 / 5965 / 5971 / 5976 / 6008 / 6013 / 6035 / 6064 / 6066 / 6119 / 6124 / 6137 / 6162 / 6170 / 6183 / 9503 / 9509 / 9521 / 9524 / 9539 / [30] 1972 - 1975
Mark 3 Coach 118px Passenger Coach 125 200 5 North - South premier service 1972 - 1988

Arriva has expanded its Class 150 fleet, with units cascaded from ScotRail and National Express East Anglia early in the franchise. On 10 December 2006, eight further Class 150s from First Great Western were added, these being sets: 150230/236/240/241/242/251/253/254:

  • 4 operate on the Borderlands Line (Wrexham Central to Bidston)
  • 4 entered service on the restored Ebbw Valley Railway.

In 2006 'heritage' unit 121032 was purchased by Arriva for use on the Cardiff Bay Shuttle. The unit has been repainted into Arriva colours and was hauled to Wales in June 2006 to enter service in July. The unit finally entered service on 17 August 2006 but was withdrawn two days later due to a major problem with the engine. The unit re-entered service on the Cardiff Bay line on 14 September 2006. More recently the unit has been suffering further problems and once again it has had to be taken out of service. The Cardiff Bay line temporarily ran a class 153, until 1 January 2009 when the Class 121 re-entered service on the Cardiff Bay shuttle.

From November 2007, nine Class 150/2 units transferred from the West Midlands as the Central Trains franchise came to an end. London Midland (the successor to Central Trains) will utilise Class 170s on Birmingham New Street to Walsall and Stafford services to enable the release of these ten units. As of March 2008, five of these units will be sub-leased to First Great Western due to recent bad press over a poor service provided by FGW - these units having been refurbished with Arriva-style seating and corporate exterior livery.

From December 2008, a loco hauled Holyhead to Cardiff service has been operated by Arriva Trains Wales. It is usually formed of a Class 57, 3 Mark 2 coaches and a Mark 3 buffet. The coaches were refreshed at Eastleigh Works and the locos painted at Cardiff Canton. There is now a plan to run a second daytime diagram operating on weekends as well.

All Class 158s are now maintained at their own special depot at Machynlleth TMD (Traction Maintenance Depot).

References Edit


  1. Franchise Information. Retrieved on 2008-03-24.
  2. "Welsh Assembly Government Rail Unit. Retrieved on 2008-03-26.
  3. Chris Hulme. North Wales Railway Notice Board - That new Arriva Timetable. Retrieved on 2008-03-26.
  4. Network Rail Punctuality Statistics
  5. National Rail Trends Chapter 2. ORR.
  6. National Rail Trends Chapter 2. ORR.
  7. Shrewsbury and Aberystwyth Rail Passengers Association
  9. 9.0 9.1 Western Mail: Train firm's web site hits the buffers over Welsh language. Retrieved on 2008-04-15.
  10. Hereford Times: Welsh signs would be on wrong track. Retrieved on 2008-04-15.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Arriva: Rail company launches Welsh language phone line. Retrieved on 2008-04-15.
  12. Imaginet: Arriva Trains Wales secures top internet communications award. Retrieved on 2008-04-15.
  13. uglam
  14. Provisional North Wales Regional Transport Plan (Appendix 2- Railway Development in North Wales. Retrieved on 2009-03-24.[dead link]
  15. 2008 timetable alteration summary
  16. Template:Cite press release
  17. The Heart of Wales Line. Arriva Trains Wales. Retrieved on 25 August 2008.
  18. Discover Wales and the Borders by Train - Your Guide to Arriva Trains Wales' Rovers and Rangers. Arriva Trains Wales. Retrieved on 25 August 2008.
  19. Ebbw Valley rail link marks first successful year. South Wales Argus (2009-02-10). Retrieved on 2009-03-24.
  20. Arriva Trains Wales Announces Plans for Direct Aberwystwyth - London Services. Retrieved on 2008-12-23.
  21. Template:Cite news
  22. Template:Cite news
  23. Class 121 fleet list. Retrieved on 2008-07-22.
  24. Class 142 fleet list. Retrieved on 2008-07-22.
  25. Class 143 fleet list. Retrieved on 2008-07-22.
  26. Class 150 fleet list. Retrieved on 2008-07-22.
  27. Class 153 fleet list. Retrieved on 2008-07-22.
  28. Class 158 fleet list. Retrieved on 2008-07-22.
  29. Class 175 fleet list. Retrieved on 2008-07-22.
  30. Mark 2 coaching stock fleet list. Retrieved on 2008-07-22.

External links Edit

Template:Commons category

Preceded by
Wales and Borders
Operator of Wales and Borders franchise
2003 — present