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Rail passengers reminded to check before travelling

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PASSENGERS are being urged to check before they travel ahead of essential modernisation work between Cardiff and Newport this February.

The work forms part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan for Wales, to enable Great Western Railway’s new fleet of Intercity Express Trains to run between London and Cardiff on electricity, improving journeys for passengers.

Services between Cardiff and Newport will be reduced by an average of two trains an hour from February 12-25, with rail replacement buses operating for all services between Cardiff Central and Newport stations on February 17, 18 and 25.

Between February 12 and 25, engineers will be preparing the stretch of railway between the two cities for the equipment needed to power GWR’s new Intercity Express Trains, which will run on electricity from London to Cardiff. The work being delivered will include piling and post installation.

Cardiff residents are also reminded that Splott Road Bridge will be closed from February 4 – 27.

The original bridge, which connects Splott to Adamsdown, is too low to accommodate the overhead line equipment needed for trains running on electricity and, at 117 years old, the bridge has reached the end of its lifespan. It is being replaced with a new and improved structure, raised to give clearance for trains running on electricity, and strengthened to withstand modern city centre traffic.

Modernising the railway between London and Cardiff will provide more seats and better on-board facilities for passengers travelling between the two capital cities and beyond, with the new trains running between Cardiff and Swansea on diesel.

Steve Keighley, programme manager for Network Rail in Wales and Borders, said: “The new Intercity Express Trains, which run on both electric and diesel, will provide extra seats and better on-board facilities for thousands of passengers. We are working closely with our partners at Arriva Trains Wales and Great Western Railway to make sure people can still get where they need to be with a bus replacement service in operation during this essential upgrade work.

“We would like to thank passengers and residents for their patience during this improvement work and urge people to check before travelling.”

Bethan Jelfs, customer services director for Arriva Trains Wales said: “Investing in our infrastructure here in south Wales is vital to the long term future of our railway.

“We have been working closely with our partners in Network Rail to ensure as few passenger journeys as possible were affected by this.

“The work at Splott Road Bridge will mean some service changes between Cardiff and Newport and we would urge all our customers to check their journeys ahead of travelling.”

GWR development manager Wales, Mark Young man said: “New Intercity Express Trains have been operating between South Wales and London Paddington, since last October, providing as much as 24% more seats than the trains they have replaced.

“The electrification of the line between Cardiff and London will allow us to deliver the full benefit of these new trains, with more frequent, and quicker, journeys.”

More detail on rail services and replacement buses, as well as up to date journey information, can be found via www.nationalrail.co.uk or by calling Travel Line Cymru on 0800 464 0000.

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Government to halts competition law and considers bringing in army to deliver fuel

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THE UK GOVERNMENT is to suspend competition law to allow oil firms to target fuel deliveries at petrol stations following recent panic buying.

Petrol stations in Llanelli, and across the UK, have struggled to keep stocked over the last few days, with several running dry altogether. Other forecourts have run out of certain fuels, with diesel it seems, in particularly high demand.

Officials said the move would make it easier for companies to share information and prioritise parts of the country most at need.

It follows days of long queues at the pumps, after fears of disruption to the fuel supply sparked larger than usual demand at the petrol pumps.

The news comes after it emerged that hundreds of soldiers could be scrambled to deliver fuel to petrol stations running dry across the country. The plan expected to be considered by Boris Johnson on Monday (Sept 27).

The prime minister will gather senior members of the cabinet to scrutinise “Operation Escalin” after BP admitted that a third of its petrol stations had run out of the main two grades of fuel, while the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), which represents almost 5,500 independent outlets, said 50% to 90% of its members had reported running out. It predicted that the rest would soon follow.

Conceived years ago during the planning for a no-deal Brexit, “Operation Escalin” would mean hundreds of soldiers being drafted in to drive a reserve fleet of 80 tankers. It is understood that it would take up to three weeks to fully implement, because some of those mobilised may already be on other deployments and others could be reservists. Escalin was touted as an option last week, but government sources downplayed the chance of its activation.

Announcing the measure to exempt the oil industry from the Competition Act 1998, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the government had “long-standing” contingency plans to maintain fuel supplies.

“While there has always been and continues to be plenty of fuel at refineries and terminals, we are aware that there have been some issues with supply chains.

“This is why we will enact the Downstream Oil Protocol to ensure industry can share vital information and work together more effectively to ensure disruption is minimised.

“We thank HGV drivers and all forecourt staff for their tireless work during this period.”

Transport secretary Grant Shappson on Sunday urged people to “be sensible” and blamed “one of the road haulage associations” for what he called a manufactured crisis, suggesting on Sky News that the group had leaked details from a meeting last week about driver shortages at fuel firms. However, the Road Haulage Association branded it a “disgraceful attack” concocted to “divert attention away” from the government’s handling of the issue.

BP, Esso, Texaco and Shell have introduced a £30 limit on fuel purchases after motorists were seen filling multiple jerry cans as the government warned the public not to panic buy fuel.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We are experiencing temporary outages in a small number of areas. We have good availability of fuel, and we’re working really hard to ensure regular deliveries to our petrol filling stations across the UK every day.”

A BP spokesman said: “We are experiencing fuel supply issues at some of our retail sites in the UK. This is being caused by delays in our supply chain due to a shortage of qualified drivers – this issue is impacting industries across the UK.

“Most of the 1,200 sites we supply across the UK remain supplied and open. However, with the intense demand seen over the past two days, we estimate that around 30% of sites in this network do not currently have either of the main grades of fuel. We are working to resupply as rapidly as possible. Sites that have multiple grade-outs may have closed for fuel purchases – we do not have an estimate of this number.

“We continue to work hard with our haulier supplier, Hoyer, to optimise fuel distribution and to minimise the level of disruption, keeping key sites supplied and restocking as rapidly as possible. The sites affected are changing as we continue deliveries.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Shell added: “We are working hard to ensure supplies for customers. Since Friday we have been seeing a higher-than-normal demand across our network which is resulting in some sites running low on some grades.”

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Global Litter Charity has announced the date of its next Welsh litter picking event

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Uocean project Carmarthenshire weekend clean up taking place on Saturday 25th September 21 at Pembrey Country Park

THE UOCEAN Project, part of the Vayyu Foundation, which has set itself the target of removing 1 billion kilos of waste from the world’s oceans by 2030, will be holding its next litter collection taskforce event at Pembrey Country Park  in Carmarthenshire.

Everyone is invited to join The UOcean Project volunteers and to make a difference by collecting litter, especially plastics, which are polluting our environment and ending up in the world’s oceans.  The UOcean Project has highlighted the dramatic increase in litter from plastic bags to face masks since lockdown restrictions were lifted, making it even more important to clean-up and reduce waste pollution. 

Chris Desai, head of The UOcean Project commented. “Picking up one plastic bottle or single use face mask may not appear to be significant, but at each event we are collecting many kilos of plastic because more and more individuals are joining our litter picking teams.

RSVP TO JOIN WWW.THEUOCEANPROJECT.COM

The combined collections here and overseas are the only way to make a difference and start fighting back against pollution.” 

The UOcean Project organises litter pick-up teams who work across the UK, especially around coastlines, as well as internationally.  By organising volunteers into Chapters and providing them with the tools and equipment to pick up litter, they have already collected 53,000 kilos of waste which would have ended up in the seas.  

All volunteers are provided with the equipment needed to safely pick up litter so that it can be disposed of in the right way.  For more information about The UOcean Project please go to the website www.theuoceanproject.com

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Warning! Dangerous Valium circulating in Llanelli

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the drugs being distributed and used in the Llanelli area at present could be extremely dangerous

Warning! Dangerous Valium circulating in

POLICE are warning drug users in Llanelli to take extra care following information received that dangerous valium is circulating in the area.

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “We have reasons to believe that the drugs being distributed and used in the Llanelli area at present could be extremely dangerous for anyone taking them.

“We would also appeal to drug users to seek medical attention immediately should they become unwell.

“Please share this information with anyone that you believe could come into contact with these drugs.”

To seek advice and support, visit https://barod.cymru/where-to-get-help/west-wales-services/ddas-dyfed-drug-and-alcohol-service/

Please be aware that some services may operate an automated service outside office hours.

In an emergency, or if you think someone’s life is at risk, always dial 999.

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