The Anonymous Widower

New Trains Could Be Operating Through Flintshire From May But No Green Light For Two An Hour Service

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on

These are the first two paragraphs.

Transport for Wales (TfW) is aiming to bring a number of its new Class 230 trains into service on the Wrexham – Shotton – Bidston line next month, three years later than first planned.

However a two train per hour service promised by TfW from December 2021 is yet to be approved by the rail regulator due to an ongoing conflict with a freight operator.

The lateness of the new trains is down to the Covids.

This Google Map illustrates the ongoing conflict with the freight operator.


  1. The Borderlands Line running up the Eastern side of the map.
  2. Buckley station is at the North of the map.
  3. Pennyffordd station is at the South of the map.
  4. The Padeswood cement works is on a siding to the West of the line.

The problem is that when a cement train leaves the works, it blocks the railway line for an hour.

Improvements are obviously needed, if the two operators are to share this line.

The article suggests various ideas including Park-and-Ride facilities.

April 26, 2022 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , ,


  1. The Borderlands line should be split in two. Shotton (change for North Wales Coast line) to Liverpool around the Liverpool underground loop, using hybrid battery/3rd rail class 777s, becoming a part of Merseyrail. From Shotton to Wrexham use the Class 230s. The line is well used at both ends, not in the middle. Few travel the whole 27 mile route.

    Comment by John | April 27, 2022 | Reply

    • It always appears to me, that the current arrangement was designed by Topsy.

      Comment by AnonW | April 27, 2022 | Reply

    • I agree that forcing a change at Bidston is daft, but I’m not sure whether Shotton would be all that much better. That would give you links with N Coast line, but there’s not currently any points there to enable trains to change to the other track. Ideally, you’d build a chord to enable trains to run through to Flint/Ctr, but that would be a much bigger deal.

      I also think it would be better to have through trains between Wirral and Shrewsbury/Birmingham without having to change at Ctr (though I don’t think the Vivarail units are suitable for that).

      Comment by Peter Robins | May 3, 2022 | Reply

  2. There is a Don Coffey cab ride available which highlights the long signal sections on the route.
    No doubt both this and the 50mph speed limitation are major constraints in introducing more frequent service on the line along with the freight requirements.

    link is here

    Comment by Fenline Scouser | April 27, 2022 | Reply

  3. Lateness isn’t just down to Covid the units have had issues with a fire causing them to be taken out of use for months and then the driver training all had to restart.
    Hopefully they will get it away this time as VivaRail have done a good job with the conversions.
    Its farcical that one freight train a day is an excuse not to deliver the half hourly though and that it hasn’t been resolved given the service should have started three years ago.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | April 27, 2022 | Reply

    • I used to live near Felixstowe and until about 2010, I went to the dentist there. Freight companies always used to get priority on that line, if there was any trouble, and regularly passenger services were cancelled. With an extension to the double-track, Network Rail seems to have solved that problem.

      I suspect, that there could be a simple improvement on the Borderlands Line to allow both services to run.

      Comment by AnonW | April 27, 2022 | Reply

    • I was tempted to say virtually what you have said, perhaps the new cars that Vivarail have just sent to RDC in the States to supplement the earlier train will see them running earlier.

      Comment by fammorris | April 28, 2022 | Reply

    • there was also the issue that they had to lengthen the platforms on a couple of stations

      Comment by Peter Robins | May 3, 2022 | Reply

      • well they had three years to sort that!

        Comment by Nicholas Lewis | May 3, 2022

      • they did the work at Wrexham Central last Sep/Oct, I believe.

        Comment by Peter Robins | May 3, 2022

  4. From the April 2022 Edition of Modern Railways, I get the impression, that either the Office and Road and Rail are softening their science on the use of third rail electrification or Network Rail have found a way to make it truly safe.

    This could open up the Borderlands Line to allow through Class 777 trains to Wrexham, which must surely be everybody’s preferred solution.

    Comment by AnonW | May 3, 2022 | Reply

  5. Posters on are saying that intro of 230s will be delayed again until later this year at the earliest.

    Comment by Peter Robins | May 8, 2022 | Reply

  6. The latest news I have on the 230s is that TfW restarted training/testing mid-August and that they hope the things will finally be in service before the end of the year – barring further incidents.

    Meanwhile the 197s have been on training/testing runs in N Wales for a couple of months now. More on the rollout plans at There are reports of tests on Bidston-Wrexham too.

    Comment by Peter Robins | September 7, 2022 | Reply

  7. According to one of my local rags, it seems ORR have now come up with some sort of compromise to enable both half-hourly passenger and freight to run on the existing tracks.

    Comment by Peter Robins | December 1, 2022 | Reply

  8. Who’s doing the micky-taking?

    Comment by AnonW | December 2, 2022 | Reply

  9. There’s a good summary of the status with all of TfW’s new rolling stock in This states that TfW are now thinking of a “mix of all-stations and ‘skip stop’ trains giving two trains per hour from end to end”, and “Class 230s are unlikely to be robust enough to fulfil all these diagrams”, so they’ll bring in some 197s to run those. Not sure that buying the 230s was a good idea!

    Comment by Peter Robins | February 16, 2023 | Reply

    • I met Adrian Shooter a couple of times and he was a good salesman and a visionary.

      I do wonder, if he’d concentrated on a different type of train like the 321 or a 466, Vivarail might still be with us!

      Comment by AnonW | February 16, 2023 | Reply

  10. Facebook post says Class 230s should be in service starting tomorrow 3rd April 2023. Stadler rumoured to be contracted to provide maintenance.

    Comment by fammorris | April 2, 2023 | Reply

    • That fits with the philosophy of the guy who created Stadler.

      Comment by AnonW | April 2, 2023 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: