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Transport for Wales

Wales offers free rail travel for Ukrainian refugees

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First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has announced that from today, refugees fleeing the ongoing conflict in Ukraine can travel for free on Transport for Wales services.

The scheme will help the refugees while they are settling in Wales, with the free travel scheme running for six months.

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Ukrainian nationals can claim free travel by showing a Ukraine passport to conductors and station staff.

The scheme is an extension of an ongoing Welsh Government programme which provides free public transport for asylum seekers in Wales, as part of its ambition to become the world’s first Nation of Sanctuary as endorsed by the United Nations.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “My message to the people of Ukraine is clear; there is a warm welcome waiting for you in Wales.

“Transport for Wales providing free travel for all refugees is another action which shows Wales is a place of safety and sanctuary for those who need our help.

“I am also proud that Wales intends to become a super-sponsor for the UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, which will provide a safe route for people to come to the UK for up to three years.”

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James Price, Transport for Wales CEO, said: “All of us will have seen the shocking and distressing scenes from Ukraine over the past few weeks. Many of us have been deeply affected by what’s happening, and we want to do what we can to support the Ukrainian people in their time of need.

“We’re proud of our record of supporting groups with free travel, including being a part of the nation Rail to Refuge scheme offering free travel for people fleeing domestic abuse, and offering free rail travel for NHS workers during 2020. This is a further extension of our commitment to social justice and helping make the world a better place.”

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British Transport Police

Police want to speak with this man after a teenage girl was sexually assaulted on train to Llanelli

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British Transport Police have released a photo of a man they want to speak with after a teenage girl was reportedly sexually assaulted in a “prolonged” attack.

The attack took place on a Heart of Wales line train between Llandovery and Llanelli.

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A spokesperson from British Transport Police said: “At 4.40pm on Saturday 26 March, a teenage girl boarded the train and sat opposite a man on a table seat. The man then proceeded to sexually assault her.

“Officers believe the man in the image may have information which could help their investigation.

“If you recognise him, or have any information, please contact BTP by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 538 of 26/03/22.

“Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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Carmarthenshire

May timetable change sees increase in train services

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An increase in Transport for Wales (TfW) train services comes into effect in May reversing many pandemic cuts.

From Sunday 15 May, a new rail timetable will be in place across the Wales and Borders rail network.

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This will include the return of a number of services across North, Mid and West Wales that were removed from the timetable as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, providing a boost to capacity ahead of a summer tourist season.

The May-December timetable period is also expected to include the introduction of the first of TfW’s brand new trains.

The first new trains for the Wales and Borders network are planned to enter service on routes in North Wales and the Borders during the summer.

While the times of many services will be unaffected, TfW say customers should still ensure they double-check their departure, arrival and connection times.

Among the key changes are nine additional services each way per day along the North Wales Coast between Chester and Llandudno Junction, including the return of direct services between Llandudno and Manchester Airport, and six extra services each way between Swansea and West Wales.

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TfW is also reintroducing two additional return services between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury, and along the Conwy Valley Line between Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog.

In Cardiff, TfW is restoring direct services between Coryton and Radyr, and the shuttle service between Cardiff Queen Street and Cardiff Bay will also return, reintroducing key connections within the city.

Colin Lea, Transport for Wales Planning and Performance Director, said: “We are introducing more services across our network and making adjustments elsewhere from 15 May. It’s really important for customers to check their journey details ahead of travelling.

“As we welcome more customers back to our services, some trains will be busier than they have been for a while, especially in the busy holiday periods. For those customers who wish to travel on quieter services, we recommend using our Capacity Checker tool.”

TfW say that South Wales Metro transformation works will continue to take place over the summer, including in evenings and at weekends when the network is quieter, so customers should always check before travelling to find out if their service is affected.

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(Lead image: Transport for Wales)

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British Transport Police

Life-saving defibrillators at train stations damaged

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British Transport Police are warning of the consequences of damaging defibrillators after a spate of vandalism at train stations across Wales.

Defibrillators, which are used to give a high energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest, were recently installed at several stations by Transport for Wales.

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Since their instillation, seven incidents of defibrillators being damaged or stolen have been reported in the last nine months at locations including Pencoed, Ninian Park, Briton Ferry, Sarn, Llandeilio and Llandudno.

British Transport Police Officers are patrolling stations and cameras have been installed to capture incidents and pursue prosecution against any offenders. Defibrillators have also been locked in cabinets to prevent theft or damage.

According to British Heart Foundation Cymru, there are around 2,800 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Wales each year, but just 1 in 20 people survive.

Every minute without cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by up to 10 per cent, but immediate CPR and defibrillation can more than double the chances of survival.

British Transport Police Inspector Richard Powell said: “Lives are being put at risk by people who steal and vandalise defibrillators.

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“Offenders should think how they would feel if they themselves, or their relatives, were unable to be saved because of equipment being out of order due to vandalism or theft.

“If anyone witnesses anything suspicious on the railway, text us on 61016. In an emergency, always call 999.”

Karl Gilmore, Rail Infrastructure Director for Transport for Wales, said: “It is extremely disappointing that within weeks of the first phase of life-saving defibrillators being installed at TfW railway stations, a number have been vandalised and will now need to be repaired.

“The defibrillators are a vital tool for the whole community and this vandalism is putting people’s lives at risk.

“A cardiac arrest can happen to people of all ages and the use of a defibrillator can greatly increase someone’s chance of survival. It’s important the defibrillators are available in key locations, such as railway stations, and in good working order.

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“We ask anyone who sees a defibrillator being damaged to call the British Transport Police immediately.”

Tomos Hughes, a Public Access Defibrillator Support Officer at the Welsh Ambulance Service, explained: “Once somebody suffers a cardiac arrest every minute counts. They need immediate CPR from those around them as well as a shock from a defibrillator.

“It’s so disappointing to hear about devices which have been stolen or damaged, which is basically putting lives at risk. If you’re that vandal, imagine if it were a member of your family in cardiac arrest who needed that defibrillator – how would you feel if it wasn’t available? Don’t be that person. We would urge anyone with information to contact police.”

Adam Fletcher, Head of BHF Cymru, added: “Every second counts when someone has a cardiac arrest, and, alongside CPR, prompt use of a defibrillator is critical in giving them the best chance of survival. To put it simply – access to a defibrillator could be the difference between life and death, and anyone who vandalises a defibrillator is putting lives at risk.”

(Lead image: British Transport Police)

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