Chris Clarke of the Marches Rail Users Alliance has supplied the following:
There are four consecutive weekends 29/30 Sept, 6/7 Oct, 13/14 Oct and 20/21 Oct where bus will replace train for the complete Saturday and Sunday service. The first two weekends the bus service will be between Shrewsbury and Hereford or Knighton and for the last two weekends the bus service will be between Shrewsbury and Newport or Knighton. The work at Craven Arms will take place during the first two weekends and a notice is exhibited at Craven Arms informing passengers that from Monday 8 October Southbound Heart of Wales services will call at the southbound platform 2. The notice is both in English and Welsh but the English version is first.
I do not know what work is taking place on the other two weekends when the bus service is extended to Newport but we have for several years now had a period of around four weeks when the whole route has been closed to enable Network Rail to do all their renewal work in one big hit. The problem this year is that as a result of Network Rail’s on going timetabling problems the train and bus retimings will not be published until 6 weeks prior to the dates instead of the laid down notice period of 12 weeks.
Line closures are always disruptive to passengers, especially when they include lengths such as Shrewsbury to Newport. However, the scope of the closures does seem to indicate that the Marches Line is in dire need of renewal. Let us hope that the line is being put in good order ready for the Welsh Government’s brave new railway bringing the Wales and Borders network into the 21st Century. Something that is desperately needed.