CONCERNS have been raised over the number of train services passing through Newport being cancelled.

Newport East AM John Griffiths has said he has been contacted by a number of constituents in recent weeks concerned about the number of train services which were being cancelled, with the Cardiff to Cheltenham service, which runs through Newport, reportedly proving a particular problem.

Transport for Wales took over the management of Wales' rail last month, with KeolisAmery responsible for running services on the Wales and Borders network.

And Mr Griffiths said he had written to Transport for Wales chief executive James Price raising his concerns.

“I have been contacted by a number of constituents who are very frustrated at the number of cancelled services provided by Transport for Wales and the impact this is having on passengers during their daily commute," he said.

"I wrote directly to the chief executive for Transport Wales to put forward these concerns and ask for the reason why commuters’ journeys are being affected, particularly regarding the route between Cardiff and Cheltenham."

In his reply to Mr Price explained a number of trains needing repair has created "more pressure than usual on limited resources we currently have available to operate our services".

"This pressure is requiring colleagues in our rail services team to make some difficult decisions with the best interests of our customers in mind," he said.

Mr Price added, of the 986 services the company runs Monday to Friday, the company had, on average, cancelled 12 per day. And, on the Cardiff to Cheltenham service, he said: "On occasion we have taken the extremely difficult decision to pre-cancel this service so that the train can be redeployed on routes where the customer impact would be greater if we were to cancel those services."

He added: "Our aim is to always provide maximum capacity and a quality service for the majority of our customers.

"When it is necessary to cancel any service on the day we carefully evaluate the passenger loadings and additional services before/after the cancelled train, as well as arrange road transport or alternative options with other operators."

Mr Griffiths said he had been "reassured" by Mr Price's reply, adding: "I will continue to monitor the situation closely and intend to raise further concerns directly with the company if services carry on affecting passengers in Newport and beyond.”

Speaking to the Argus, Mr Price said: “We sincerely apologise to all customers affected by the recent disruption to services between Cardiff and Cheltenham.

"Unfortunately, due to damage caused by autumnal conditions and during Storm Callum, we have faced a shortage of available trains with which to operate services. As a result of this, we have taken the difficult to decision to pre-cancel a small number of services across the entire Wales and Borders network.

“The Transport for Wales rail services maintenance team are working around the clock to return trains to service as quickly as possible, and we are acquiring more trains in 2019 to increase our overall capacity, as well as investing £40 million on upgrading our current fleet of trains to prevent damage in the future.”