Express train omits vital North Wales stop - Flintshire!

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher and Matt Jones

THE new high-speed Holyhead to Cardiff rail service is to stop in every county in North Wales except Flintshire.

Community leaders are calling for a re-think after it was revealed Flint station has been excluded from proposals.

Under current plans the service will stop at 13 other stations including three in the county of Wrexham and two in Conwy county.

Flint councillor Ian Roberts said he was astonished the county with the highest population in the region has been left out.

He said: “It stops in every other county. It is unfair on the travelling public.

“It is astonishing that something that is supposed to link North and South Wales does not stop in Flintshire.”

The service’s last stop before passing through Flintshire is in Rhyl and the next stop is Chester.

Cllr Roberts said: “I think it is right to stop in Wrexham as it is the biggest town in North Wales.

“Between Chester and Shrewsbury this train becomes the stopping train. To stop at stations in Ruabon, Chirk and Gobowen when it does not stop in Flintshire is unbelievable.

“It is particularly disappointing because this is a quality service. It comes a week after Flintshire gave the Assembly a yes vote.

“I urge the minister, Ieuan Wyn Jones, to reconsider.”

Sandy Mewies, Delyn AM, said she was “extremely disappointed” the service would omit a Flint stop.

She said: “As someone who often travels by train between Flint and Cardiff I know there is a demand for the service.

“I had already written to the Transport Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones asking for Flint to be included as one of the stops and I will now be taking up the matter again with him to clarify why Flintshire is missing out. “

A spokeswoman for Arriva Train Wales said the final decision on the route rested with the Welsh Assembly Government.

The extra service will run in addition to the current once daily express train from Holyhead to Cardiff, Monday to Friday.

Politicians in Wrexham have welcomed the announcement.

Lesley Griffiths AM said: "This is fantastic news.

“This vital new transport link will provide a much needed economic boost to the town and surrounding area, linking us with two national capitals – Cardiff and, via Holyhead, Dublin.”

Council leader Aled Roberts welcomed the new service but cautioned against further changes to local provision.

He said: “As well as a speedy service south to Cardiff, many of our residents also rely on the direct services through to Birmingham – particularly as we have now lost our London service.”

“Losing a direct Birmingham service is not an option. We need to build on what we have, not witness them taken away.”

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