You might feel like you’ve stepped into another country at a Wales train station, as all signs and announcements are in Welsh and English. It is a beautiful language that is nice to hear. The announcer has a sing-song accent and is very calming. Come a little early and sit out on the benches to wait for your train, it makes for a very pleasant atmosphere.
The train route for Wales isn’t extensive. It mainly covers the north, the south and the border, with areas in the middle and towards the coast not reachable by train. However, Arriva Wales heads into England and there are a lot of places to see just off the station platforms. In some cases, like in Conwy, you are just a few minutes walk from the medieval castle, restaurants and shops.
Arriva Wales has distinctive green and yellow trains. Stations are clean and bathroom facilities are available and accessible. Some stations have tea rooms, where you can get a buttered scone and tea, among other things, while you wait. Or just nip in to get warmed. Stations also have enclosed rooms with widows to see the trains arriving and departing. Announcements are piped in, so you won’t miss your train.
Onboard, a refreshments trolly will usually pass by at least once, unless your journey is very short. It offers the usual, tea, drinks, pre-packaged sandwiches and snacks, but will also have some Welsh favorites you might want to sample. Seats are comfortable, with two to each side, or four facing each other with a table in between. Luggage stores are overhead and in the last few feet of each car. Arriva Wales isn’t the most crowded of trains, so seating is usually not a problem. Once in England, or towards Cardiff you might feel the pinch, but most of the time you’ll have two seats to yourself. Ticket checks are routine and because the train isn’t full, expect to have your ticket checked each time you ride. Tickets can be purchased at kiosks, or at the station desk. An advanced pass will save you time and money and cover you for the whole of Arriva Wales routes, so you can hop on and off and not have a specific plan or destination for each journey. On occasion people do buy their ticket onboard, especially if they are running late.
Even if you do drive while you are visiting, there are some train journeys that you should consider, just for the scenery and position the train affords you. There are also about ten seasonal steam train journeys that are well worth doing, and can take you to lovely towns or even up to the Snowdonia mountains.