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Train stop journey arrives at Haverfordwest

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Vicki and Geoff: Travelling to 2,563 train stations across the UK

A COUPLE from East London have taken on the challenge of travelling to every train station in the UK, and this week they arrived at Haverfordwest.

Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe have travelled to over 1,400 train stations out of the 2,563 stations in the United Kingdom, and have so far travelled by train across Kent, Birmingham and Derbyshire, but this week is their ‘Wales Week’.

Updating their YouTube channel, ‘All The Stations’, they have been documenting their journey on a daily basis.

So, what are the rules? Geoff and Vicki must be on a train that stops – they can’t get on a fast train that goes all the way through to the final destination, so ideally they need to be on a train that does stop at every station.

The Herald caught up with Geoff and Vicki at Haverfordwest Train Station after they got off the 2pm train with their camera, wearing their ‘All The Stations’ t-shirts yesterday afternoon (Jun 27).

When asked where it all started, Vicki said: “I’m very interested in the social history side and how the railways connect people.”

Pulling into the station: Haverfordwest

Geoff managed to be the record holder of travelling to all the tube stations in London in the fastest time – twice. He said: “Off of that came the conversation, is there a record to go to all of the train stations?”

“We’re not trying to do it in the fastest time, but at a more leisurely pace!”

The pair didn’t want it to just be a journey in which they stopped and explored places that they thought were interesting, and wanted other people to contribute.

They came to Haverfordwest after being approached by a local, who offered them the chance to travel to Pembrokeshire and take a look around.

So far, it has taken Vicki and Geoff 6 weeks to travel to half of the stations across the UK, however they anticipate it will take them an extra 8 weeks to complete the rest as they take their journey through Wales, due to trains running less frequently than in other areas.

Geoff said: “One of the most obvious difference is we live in a world in South East London, where we’re from, where a train runs every 10 minutes.

“One of our local stations, I don’t even bother to check when the next train is going to be, I just rock up and know that another one is going to be along in the next three or four, at most seven minutes, there’s going to be a train, and here at Haverfordwest we’re looking at the board and there’s a train every two hours.

“It does bring it home how infrequent trains are out of the cities and commuter areas.”

Whilst travelling through Wales, Vicki has been trying to learn some of the Welsh language, and has been speaking to people across the country in an attempt to help her learn more.

She said: “It’s been brilliant trying to learn Welsh as well, and people have been so happy to give us tips, and I really hope by the end of the week I’ll be able to reel off a few sentences without having to look at my notes!”

Half way there: Vicki and Geoff are almost half way through their ‘All The Stations’ journey

The love of railways all stemmed from a box of old black and white photogaphs of railways owned by Geoff’s grandad, before they were closed by The Beeching cuts in 1965, along with maps of the railways that Geoff’s grandfather used to cycle to.

Geoff said: “The more you look at a map and the place names, the more you think why don’t people just get on a train and get out and explore more? And there’s something quite marvellous, with that expression the thrill is in the chase not the capture, I would definitely bump that up to the experience is in the journey not getting to your destination.

“And, I’d rather do it on a train where you can look out the window, read a book, talk to someone, have a nap, get up and go for a walk around – if I was taking a long journey I’d prefer to do it by train, and it’s good for the environment too!

“And I really mean that – we come from London where the air quality is an issue, and we’ve been in Wales this week breathing in some fresh mountain air, so it brings it home. So, more than ever, I’m thinking we need to get people onto trains.”

The Herald asked Geoff and Vicki if they think the train lines will change over the next few years.

Vicki said: “I think there’s going to be loads of investment in the train network over the next few years, and that’s going to dramatically change the way we travel, such as the speed of which we travel, how we buy our tickets and the service we expect once we get on board a train, and in a way it felt like 2017 was the time to take a look and take a snapshot of what the railways are like now before all of that change happens.

“We’ve joked about maybe coming back in 15 to 20 years to see what it’s like!”

To follow Geoff and Vicki’s journey, go to www.allthestations.co.uk or find them on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

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Fishguard: Terminal could close for three months for improvement to infrastructure

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FISHGUARD’S ferry terminal could be closed for up to three months, the operator Stena Line has revealed.

A replacement of the mechanised bridge which connects the ferry to the dock could cause the temporary closure.

The project would cost £5m and is expected to start in February 2019.

Commenting on the project, Stena Line said it was ‘committed to examining the possibilities of investing in key elements of the port infrastructure’.

The spokesperson continued: “It is expected that the port will close for approximately three months. However this is yet to be confirmed.”

In an online planning application to Pembrokeshire County Council, the company lists replacing the Linkspan provision, which allows vehicles to disembark and board at various tide heights.

Tenders for the project are currently being sought by the company.

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Neyland pervert jailed for downloading child pornography

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A NEYLAND man who “learned absolutely nothing” after being caught by the police downloading child pornography has been jailed today for doing it again.

David Leonard Smith, aged 59, of Kensington Road, had been under a suspended prison sentence when police called at his home to check on his internet activity.
 
Dean Pulling, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that he pretended to own only a mobile telephone but officers discovered that an internet router was linked to a Samsung laptop.
 
Smith refused to accept he had one but a search revealed the computer hidden under a pile of magazines.
 
As soon as the machine was opened an adult pornography website flashed onto the screen.
 
A closer examination showed that Smith possessed 13 indecent images of children and nine of extreme pornography involving women and animals.
 
It was also clear, said Mr Pulling, that Smith had swapped indecent images with another internet user.
 
Smith admitted possessing and making indecent images, distributing them and breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order made when he was sentenced in August, 2016.
 
Judge Geraint Walters said Smith was “hugely” in denial about what he had been doing and had learned absolutely nothing from his previous court experience.
 
“There was a fair amount of deviousness involved this time,” he added.
 
Smith was jailed for 16 months and Judge Walters activated 12 months of the suspended sentence, making 28 months in all.

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Motorbike safety campaign launched across Wales

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A CAMPAIGN aimed at reducing the risk of motorcycle-related deaths and serious injuries on the roads is underway across Wales.

As the weather improves police see more bikers on the roads, taking advantage of the beautiful routes across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys.

Dyfed-Powys Police is urging motorcyclists to ride safely and warns that until October there will be an increased focus as part of the campaign, named Op Darwen.

Superintendent Huw Meredith, Head of Specialist Operations, said: “Motorcyclists have long been identified as particularly vulnerable road users and reducing the number of road deaths and casualties on the roads of Dyfed-Powys is a priority for our Roads Policing Units.

“We have always welcomed motorcyclists from outside our borders to enjoy the magnificent landscape, but they must be aware that Dyfed-Powys Police is doing all it can to ensure our roads are used safely by all, with our Roads Policing Units taking robust action to prevent fatal or serious road traffic collisions on our roads.

“Everyone must take responsibility for their own and others safety on our roads and be aware of their riding and driving manner. Action will be taken against anyone choosing to ride or drive anti-socially, recklessly or illegally on our roads.

“Our officers see far too many tragedies, many preventable. Roads Policing officers will be out in numbers throughout Dyfed-Powys using a combination of education, engagement and enforcement to prevent further tragedies.”

Officers will also be encouraging riders to improve their biking skills by taking part in BikeSafe workshops, which
offer an insight into what can be achieved with further advanced training. The workshops, run by police forces around the UK, use a mix of discussions, on-road observed rides and information videos. They are designed to enhance the skills of all riders who have already passed their tests and are suitable for all abilities, from the most seasoned rider to those returning to biking after a period of absence.

Economy and Transport Secretary Ken Skates praised the campaign: “Our roads continue to be amongst the safest in the world.

“However, the number of motorcyclists being killed or seriously injured is still too high.

“Campaigns like this are a key part of a wider range of measures aimed at making our roads safer and preventing future motorcycling casualties. This holistic approach includes ensuring motorcyclists are prioritised in our road safety funding, supporting Go Safe’s operation of speed cameras and funding local authorities to deliver Bikesafe and other motorcyclist training.”

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