TRAVELLING on the railways in Wales and across the UK can be a little confusing at times, especially for those who do not catch a train on the regular.
But even the seasoned commuter can get caught out on occasion, especially in the days and weeks after the twice-yearly timetable changes come into effect.
Twice a year – in May and December – there is a window for rail operators to make changes to their services.
Some changes that can take place at these times include adding or removing stops, changing the times of journeys, or even introducing new stations to the network.
This time around, at least around Newport and the South Wales area, there aren’t too many major changes to expect when the new timetable kicks in on Sunday, May 15.
If anything, there are a small handful of changes coming in which might make life a little easier for anyone hopping onto a Transport for Wales service in the coming weeks.
The biggest change is the extension of services heading through Newport towards the Midlands.
Each day, four of the services which ran from Cardiff Central to Gloucester will now continue on as far as Cheltenham Spa – improving the link between South Wales and the Cotswolds.
In the other direction, for those from Gwent travelling in the capital, direct services between Coryton and Radyr via the City Line will be reintroduced, along with five services each hour between Cardiff Queen Street and Cardiff Bay.
These were services initially cut during the first coronavirus lockdown all the way back in 2020.
Another change will be found in terms of the trains that we actually travel on.
Over the next few years, Transport for Wales are upgrading their fleet – with shiny and new trains replacing some of the more tired looking units currently running.
Over the summer, the first of these will be introduced – in both North Wales and on the Welsh-English border.
This means that eagle-eyed train spotters might have something new to look out for in and around Newport fairly soon.
What has been said about the changes?
Colin Lea, Transport for Wales planning and performance director, said: “We are introducing more services across our network and making adjustments elsewhere from May 15.
“It’s really important for customers to check their journey details ahead of travelling.
“As we welcome more customers back to our services, some trains will be busier than they have been for a while, especially in the busy holiday periods.
“For those customers who wish to travel on quieter services, we recommend using our Capacity Checker tool.”
Customers must purchase a valid ticket before boarding their train. You can check journey details at tfw.wales.
Transformation works as part of the South Wales Metro project will continue over the summer – including in evenings and at weekends when the network is quieter – so anyone travelling by rail should check before their journey whether their service is affected.