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Train cancellations hit Pembrokeshire travellers

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MORE than a quarter of trains in Wales are currently out of service, rail bosses admitted in newspaper adverts apologising to passengers this week.

Transport for Wales (TfW) and Network Rail took out full page ads in the Western Mail, South Wales Echo and Daily Post on Tuesday (Nov 20).

They said 36 of Wales’ 127 trains are being repaired – causing delays and cancellations in recent weeks.

The cancellations have spread to Pembrokeshire where many services have been cancelled.

The 7.05 train Milford to Manchester had become (at least for a while) the 7.05 to Cardiff, waiting 20 minutes at Swansea and taking the path of a slow train at Swansea, terminating at Cardiff 35 minutes later than timetabled, the connection to London arriving half an hour later, and stations to Manchester requiring a change at Cardiff and arrival a whole hour later than timetabled. A traveller from Pembroke also advised of problems on that line.

The latest information on Wednesday (Nov 21) was that the following trains from Milford Haven were cancelled:  09:08, 11:08, 13:08, 15:08 and 17:11 due to more trains than usual needing repairs at the same time.

In other words, five trains to Manchester were being cancelled, and Milford would see no trains between 7.08 and 19.12.

The real-time situation also appears to be worse than the advertised cancellations, according to website realtimetrains.co.uk

The Herald further understands that all trains from Pembroke Dock run only to Carmarthen, where a change is required, to a train which then fails to make the London Connection at Swansea. Coming back from London, your connection will not be waiting at Swansea, the next train to Carmarthen, where a further change will be needed, will ensure that you are two hours late getting home.

Fishguard has had a cancellation too. Nothing is said about replacement bus services.

One traveller told this newspaper: “This is totally unacceptable. Surely if more trains than usual need repairs at the same time, some more trains can be hired from a rolling stock company meanwhile.

“And it is not enough to apologise that trains won’t run. If I still have a journey to make and have planned it round the timetable, I want to know how TfW will get me there. And I subscribe to journey check. Had I not, I could well have turned up at the station for my train to find it not there.

“Is this how our government wants the new franchise to run?”

This week, Labour Government’s Transport Secretary refused to apologise to commuters across South Wales Central who’ve recently endured chaos, delays and cancellations on the Welsh rail network.

In response to South Wales Central AM, Andrew RT Davies, Ken Skates declined the opportunity to apologise and also refused to answer why additional trains promised back in July 2017 by the Welsh Government had yet to materialise.

The Cabinet Secretary also refused to deny that over half of Wales’ rolling train stock is currently out of action during a topical question at the National Assembly.

Commenting on the shambles, South Wales Central, Andrew RT Davies AM, said: “This is another shambles from the Welsh Labour Government and it’s appalling that the Transport Secretary couldn’t muster one apologetic word to commuters across South Wales who’ve had to endure this chaos.

“Confidence in the Welsh Labour Government’s ability to deliver on transport and infrastructure is reaching an all-time low and his failure to apologise or answer straightforward questions this afternoon speaks volumes.

“Passengers are still waiting for new trains promised some 16 months ago and ahead of what could be a testing winter period, the lack of answers from the Cabinet Secretary indicates further chaos can be expected on the rail network.

“This is clearly a very difficult start for Transport for Wales and whilst immediate improvements were always unlikely, the fact the day-to-day management of services is deteriorating does not bode well for future promises.”

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Pembrokeshire residents can quickly check symptoms for variety of conditions on NHS 111 Wales online

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NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker can save Pembrokeshire patients time by helping them find the right NHS service for treatment. Symptoms can be quickly checked for a variety of conditions and advice given on the best way to treat them by visiting www.111.wales.nhs.uk which is hosted by the Welsh Ambulance Service.

The way we access NHS services has changed as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with more options now becoming increasingly utilised, including the NHS 111 Wales online service which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can be used for both health information and advice and to access urgent primary care in Welsh and English.

In a recent YouGov survey, a third of Pembrokeshire residents had not even heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker and only 19% had used it during the past 12 months.

Andrew Carruthers, Director of Operations at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We are asking everyone to help us by reconsidering the way you access NHS services. The methods available have changed but we are still here for you. It is worth getting to know the different ways you can access the NHS so you can be seen and treated quicker with your first port of call being NHS 111 Wales.”

According to the YouGov survey, carried out for the Welsh Government’s Keep Wales Safe campaign, only 67% of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker. However, 86% said they felt it was important to have access to the service.   

NHS 111 Wales online can help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do. The way it works is: You answer questions about your symptoms on the website and depending on the situation you will:

  •           Get self-care advice
  •           Be told how to get any medicine you need
  •           Find out what local service can help you
  •           Be connected to a nurse, emergency dentist, pharmacist or GP
  •           Get a face-to-face appointment if you need one
  •           Be given an arrival time if you need to go to A&E – this might mean you spend less time in A&E

For those who don’t have confidence going online to seek advice, there is the NHS 111 Wales phone service. This is also a free service where patients can contact the NHS by dialling 111 to receive advice on the best way to manage their issue or gain further assistance if needed. The bilingual telephone service is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Eighty-four percent of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales phone service when asked for the recent YouGov survey but only 20% had used the telephone service during the last 12 months.

 

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Trial date for son accused of killing mum

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THE SON of Judith Rhead, 68, who was found dead in her home in Market Street, Pembroke Dock on Feb 20 will now appear in Crown Court again in October.

Dale Morgan, 43, said to be a scout master, appeared in court only to confirm his name, date of birth and address – which was listed as Honeyborough Green, Neyland.

A plea and trial preparation hearing date was set for March 26 with a provisional trial date set for October 4.

He was remanded in custody.

In court papers it stated that the alleged murder took place between December 10, 2020 and February 21, 2021.

The paperwork demonstrates that the police are unsure of the exact date that Ms Rhead died. The large date range, two months, points to the likelihood that this will be a challenging case for all those involved.

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan

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MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link: 

https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/regeneration-communities

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.

 

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