RAIL bosses have failed to deny that plans for an hourly service between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury and new trains have been bumped to 2025.

During a recent celebration of the Cambrian Coast line, between Machynlleth and Pwllheli, having four carriages running along the line during the summer season, the Cambrian News was told that plans for an hourly service and new trains on the Shrewsbury line – which were due to start running in 2022 – have been pushed to 2025.

When asked, Transport for Wales said it was reviewing its service but didn’t comment on the delays to an hourly service and new, higher capacity, trains.

A spokesperson for TfW said: “We are committed to delivering a service that both meets the evolving travelling needs of customers in a post Covid world and represents good value for public investment.

“We will be reviewing our timetable plans in the coming months and hope to provide more information later in the year.”

The delays stand in contrast to a statement made by TfW chief executive James Price in front of a Welsh Affairs Committee in Westminster last month. Mr Price said train capacity would improve by the end of 2023.

During the committee, Ceredigion MP Ben Lake said the service was “no better than a cattle truck.”

Mr Lake said at the meeting: “I have a few concerns about that specific service (Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury) – the fact that there has been a commitment of introducing an hourly service.

“Are there particular issues and pieces of work being done to improve the reliability of the service and also the capacity.

“A common complaint I receive and I’ve experienced it myself, especially when changing at Shrewsbury.

“People are then having to be loaded on… it’s no better than a cattle truck from Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth.

“We’ve heard a lot about promises of new rolling stock that don’t appear to have materialised on the mid Wales section.”

Mr Price from TfW said in response that capacity on the line should improve ‘significantly’ by the end of the year and would write to Mr Lake to update him on the hourly service plans.

No correspondence has been received by the Ceredigion MP however.

The return of four-carriage trains on the coastal route between Machynlleth and Pwllheli has been praised by Network Rail, who said: “The revival of four-car trains on the Cambrian Railway Line represents a significant milestone in the Local Railways Partnership by local teams at Network Rail and Transport for Wales to enhance rail journeys for passengers on the Cambrian Line – with support from The Cambrian Railway Partnership.

“Not only will this service make journeys better for passengers and train crew alike, but it will also contribute to the local economy - boosting trade, tourism and revenue from ticket sales.”