The rail operator, Arriva Trains Wales, has announced it is investing nearly half a million pounds into refurbishing several of its trains.
Around 66 trains across the network will get a facelift as part of the provider’s £430,000 push to improve frosty relations with commuters.
Arriva Trains Wales has come in for criticism from the borough’s commuters, with many claiming they are regularly left standing on overcrowded or delayed services.
The operator’s contract is due to end in 2018, with four bidders currently vying to take on the Wales and Borders rail franchise.
Work on the refurbishment project began in December last year, and will include rolling stock which runs on the Valleys lines.
Arriva Trains Wales has said that each train interior will be stripped before undergoing an “industrial deep clean”, while the safety film on windows and doors will be renewed.
Seats and toilets will also be refreshed.
Simon Hughes, Fleet Manager at Arriva Trains Wales, said: “In response to customer and stakeholder feedback we have invested £430,000 in the refresh and refurbishment of a number of trains.
“This investment displays Arriva Trains Wales’ commitment to improving train services and facilities for passengers throughout our network.
“The project will be undertaken over the next year with the trains refurbished one at a time in order to limit the number of trains out of use to ensure we keep the maximum number of trains running for our passengers as possible.”
— Hefin David AC/AM (@hef4caerphilly) January 25, 2017
Caerphilly AM, Hefin David, who has been vocal in his calls for improvement to rail services, said: “This is very welcome and while it does not address the issue of overcrowding it does take welcome steps to make the journey to work easier.
“I’ve raised today my concerns about the general day-to-day cleanliness of the carriages and Arriva have promised to take immediate action.”
Meanwhile Islwyn AM, Rhianon Passmore, has said she is “heartened” by the Welsh Government’s disappointment towards Arriva’s provided service, adding: “This week in the Senedd I asked the First Minister about the unsatisfactory nature of overcrowding on Arriva Trains Wales services between Ebbw Vale and Cardiff, and today I met with Arriva Trains Wales representatives to express my unhappiness about the present situation.
“My constituents in Islwyn are rightly irritated by Arriva Trains Wales making a 6.9% profit last year whilst saying there is nothing they can do.
“I am heartened by conversations with the Welsh Cabinet Secretary Ken Skates that the Welsh Government will not let this situation drag on for the remaining 20 months of Arriva Trains Wales’ current franchise.
“I welcome today’s news that Arriva will invest £430,000 in refurbishing carriages but have sought assurances that this will not add to the already chronic lack of capacity.
“The UK Government must act to help facilitate any spare carriages being made available to Arriva Trains Wales. The Conservative Transport Secretary came to Cardiff recently for a photo opportunity on an Arriva Trains Wales service but refused to be interviewed for BBC Wales’ Week In Week Out Special ‘What’s Wrong with Our Trains?’
“I shall be writing to him to ask what he intends to do to help facilitate action. Wales’ railway network does not exist in isolation. We are part of a United Kingdom and any spare rolling stock would need to come from outside of Wales.”