From the Guardian: Wednesday July 10, 2002
Edwardians making the 270 mile rail journey between London and west Wales
paid less in both time and money than today's travellers, it has emerged.
In the summer schedules that came into effect this week the journey between Paddington and the ferry port of Fishguard takes 32 minutes longer than it did a century ago.
When the line opened in 1909, the journey by steam express involved one stop and took four hours and 28 minutes. In contrast, the 8am First Great Western express from Paddington stops five times along the 1hr 59min journey to Cardiff. Passengers then get off and wait 36 minutes before boarding a connecting Wales and Borders train that stops another three times before pulling into Fishguard at 1pm.
In 1909, passengers paid the equivalent of £2.60p return first class and £1.75p return standard class. Today the first class can cost from £56 to £197.
The summer schedule enabled First Great Western to axe the daily direct service to Fishguard. "It's always difficult to make decision to cut a service. But only a handful of passengers have been using the Fishguard service. Cutting it means we can service other parts where there is a demand," a spokesman said.
"It's amazing that we cannot match what we were doing nearly 100 years ago," said John Radcliff, a member of North Pembrokeshire Transport Forum. "We have 150 years of experience in railways behind us and yet we are actually doing worse. We have a hopeless service, and no investment planned."