‘I helped a blind woman step over her body to reach the door’: Why are there only two carriages on this great Manchester railway route?

A former principal has branded the rail link between Manchester and Cardiff as ‘really awful’ after enduring regular journeys on cramped two-car trains.

Retired Tim Lowe, an administrator of the Little Princess Trust, which raises money for children with cancer, regularly travels between cities to attend charity meetings in Hereford.

On his journey this week, Tim managed to snatch the last seat of the two-car train – which was then filled with passengers who were forced to stand or sit on the floor.

He described sitting next to an elderly lady who did not dare drink for fear she would not be able to get through the stuffed cart to reach the toilet.

READ MORE: Greater Manchester to get £ 1bn transport boost in government’s leveling package ‘

And he said he had to help a blind woman who could not navigate past the hamsters to get to the door of the Transport for Wales service.

Tim, who lives near Marple and took these photos during his trip last Friday (November 5) morning, told Manchester Evening News : “People were already standing due to lack of seats when the train left Piccadilly station, some of them driving over Cardiff.

“The streets were blocked by people and luggage, so there was almost no chance of a refreshment cart and a trip to the toilet.

Tim Lowe says he could barely see the two-meter sign for the number of passengers in the road

“The older lady next to me did not dare drink from her flask to negotiate a way to the toilet, it was impossible for the less firm.

“When I got off at Hereford, I helped a young blind lady step over corpses and bags to reach the door.”

He described a sign advising two meters to social distance as ‘for laughs’, adding: “I could hardly see it for bodies.

“The announcement that the refreshment cart was back aroused ironic cheers as it could not move along the train.”

Tim says the carts are regularly so crowded, adding: “They wrap people up like sardines. I’m triple, but I can see people’s worried.

“Why on earth do they run trains with two carriages between Manchester and Cardiff?

“I want to talk about this because I think the operator should be held accountable to someone. It was really awful service.”

Sir. Lowe says he has since written to both the CEO and chairman of Transport for Wales to express his concerns but has not heard anything back.

He added: “The stupid thing is that a drive from Manchester to Hereford is three hours and the train is only two, so that should be brilliant, but it’s such a poorly run service and I do not know why.

“I fear it.”

What Transport for Wales says:

“In recent weeks, the demand for our services has been increasing across the network, especially during peak periods and as passengers return to pre-pandemic activities.

“We are working hard to meet this demand and we are constantly reviewing our roadmap and the number of people traveling to ensure that our carriages are used in the right places.

“While our services are still operating differently due to the impact of the pandemic, all of our available vehicles are in use.

“We have also implemented as many safety measures as possible to help keep passengers safe and comfortable, including improved cleaning regimes on trains and at stations, adding additional services or road transport where possible, and ensuring that people wear face masks, unless they are exempt.

“While all of our available train carriages are in operation, we advise passengers to plan ahead. Passengers can consider whether they will travel by train that is likely to be busy, based on information from our capacity check tool.

“We need to start introducing brand new trains to the network next year, which will provide more capacity than our current trains, as well as better facilities for our customers.

“This major investment is part of our work to transform rail services in Wales and the borders, which also includes station improvements, more frequent services and better integration between modes of transport across our networks.”

The capacity check is available on their website here.


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