Fishguard Harbour railway station

Fishguard Harbour railway station serves the port of Fishguard Harbour, Wales. It is the terminus of one of the branches of the West Wales Line from Swansea. The area is also now served (since it reopened on 14 May 2012) by Fishguard and Goodwick railway station.

Fishguard Harbour National Rail
Welsh: Porthladd Abergwaun
Arrival from Swansea (geograph 5512896).jpg
PlaceFishguard Harbour
Local authorityPembrokeshire
Coordinates52°00′43″N 4°59′10″W / 52.012°N 4.986°W / 52.012; -4.986Coordinates: 52°00′43″N 4°59′10″W / 52.012°N 4.986°W / 52.012; -4.986
Grid referenceSM951389
Station codeFGH
Managed byTransport for Wales
Owned byStena Line
Number of platforms1
DfT categoryE
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2014/15Decrease 26,522
2015/16Decrease 22,646
2016/17Decrease 18,600
2017/18Decrease 16,994
2018/19Decrease 13,982
Original companyFishguard and Rosslare Railways and Harbours
Pre-groupingGreat Western Railway
Post-groupingGreat Western Railway
30 August 1906Station opened
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Fishguard Harbour from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
Map of Fishguard Bay, Pembrokeshire, with the location of the railway stations.


Fishguard in 1971
Certificate of the Fishguard and Rosslare Railways and Harbours Company

The Great Western Railway took over the North Pembrokeshire and Fishguard Railway by agreement of 12 February 1898. Its intent was to turn Fishguard into a purpose-built ocean liner port because it wanted to take trans-Atlantic passenger traffic away from Plymouth and Southampton.[1] In preparation of this, the GWR opened its first station, Fishguard & Goodwick railway station, in 1899 while work on the new port began with the construction of Fishguard Harbour's East breakwater.

A new line would connect the proposed liner terminal on the East Breakwater to the West Wales line. The new 2 mi (3.2 km) route, which would have bypassed the steeper gradients and curves on this part of the original line, would have included a deep cutting, embankments and two tunnels. However, the project to build a breakwater and an ocean-going terminal was abandoned after it became clear silting (which could not be prevented by dredging) would stop large ocean-going ships from using the port. The East Breakwater was left unfinished. Two short sections of the planned railway to the new port terminal were completed before the project was ended.[2]

The GWR created a new port by building the 900 m (3,000 ft) North Breakwater by quarrying stone from the headland at Goodwick. The quarried-out area became the new quay and terminus for the West Wales line. On 30 August 1906, Fishguard harbour station was officially opened when the Waterford and Cork ferry services were transferred from Neyland to Fishguard Harbour.[3] Three years later, the first Cunard liner to call at Fishguard was the RMS Mauretania on 30 August 1909.[4] However, passengers had to be transferred ashore and the waiting London train by tender due to the shallowness of the harbour.[5]

Current facilitiesEdit

The station is not owned by Network Rail but by Stena Line. A large part of the station is contained within the port building where there is seating and toilets. However, there are no railway ticket machines and the station is staffed only by Stena Line personnel, no rail staff are employed there. This means there is no rail ticket office and passengers travelling from Fishguard by train must purchase their tickets in advance by post, at a different station, or on board their train. The majority of passengers using the station are in possession of SailRail tickets issued at Rosslare Europort or another station in Ireland. The station has step-free access throughout and the station's owners, Stena Line, permit smoking on the platform.[6] The station also has both long and short stay parking. The minimum connection time from Fishguard Harbour is seven minutes, and when bus replacement services are operating, the buses leave from the car park adjacent to the level crossing.

After the ban on smoking in public became law in Wales in April 2007, the station became the only one in the UK where it was still permitted. Stena Line allowed passengers to continue to smoke on the platform because it was deemed too dangerous for them smoke at the nearest point where it was technically permissible: a level crossing over a busy road. Smoking is banned at all stations operated by Network Rail.[6]

Rail servicesEdit

Since the station is located in the harbour, its primary purpose has always been providing links with sea going transport. As such, there have always been daily services to and from Fishguard Harbour which coincide with the ferry services to Rosslare in Ireland.

Historic servicesEdit


April 1964 to May 2003Edit

InterCity 125 and St Brendan ferry in July 1988
  • All the services serving the other stations on the branch were withdrawn on 6 April 1964, leaving the station served by boat trains only.[7] This was during the Beeching cuts period.
  • Since that date the only scheduled passenger services have been the boat trains.
  • In recent years these have been one night service and one day service all year round, despite the summer-only fast ferry. At one stage the night service was formed of an InterCity 125 train running direct to/from London Paddington. The daytime service was the same, although perhaps for only part of the year. British Rail, and later First Great Western and its predecessor Great Western Trains all operated InterCity 125 services to Fishguard Harbour.
    • In 2000, the night service was still operated by First Great Western (using InterCity 125s) but the daytime train was operated by Wales & West, meaning there were no longer any daytime through services to Paddington.[8]
    • Wales & West's services were transferred to Wales & Borders when Wales & West was split up.

May 2003 to September 2003Edit

In 2003 the remaining First Great Western Fishguard services were withdrawn when the franchise was taken over by Wales & Borders. This ended almost a century of direct services to or from London Paddington. However, through services to and from other stations were added to the timetable.

  • The night-time train started from London Waterloo every-day, connecting with Eurostar continental services, with the train arriving at 02.38 Tuesday to Saturday mornings, and 01.00 Sunday and Monday mornings. Because of this later arrival on Tuesday to Saturday, this arriving service ran empty to Carmarthen rather than form a return journey.
  • The night-time train went to Liverpool Lime Street on Monday to Saturdays and Bristol Temple Meads on Sundays, leaving each day at 01.50. On Tuesday to Saturdays, this was formed of empty stock run from Carmarthen, whereas on Sundays and Mondays, it was formed of the incoming train from Waterloo.
  • On Monday to Fridays, the day-time train started from Cardiff Central between 30 June and 5 September, not stopping Swansea and Carmarthen stations. Before and after these dates, the train started from Swansea and also called at Carmarthen.
  • On Saturdays, the daytime train went to and from Rhymney
  • On Sundays, the daytime train started at Newport, and went only as far as Carmarthen although it offered a 5- to 10-minute connection at Carmarthen for London-bound trains.

From September 2003 to September 2011Edit

Arriva Trains Wales took over from Wales & Borders in December 2003

  • A daytime train operated to and from Cardiff Central, arriving and leaving Fishguard Harbour between 1pm and 2pm, often starting from and/or terminating at stations beyond Cardiff, such as Birmingham New Street in 2003.
    • In 2010 and 2011 the service started from Cardiff and called only at Llanelli and Whitland en route to Fishguard Harbour, making it the only scheduled passenger service to use the Carmarthen avoider line. On the return, the train called at Carmarthen as well as Whitland and Llanelli before reaching Cardiff Central, the train then continued onwards to Cheltenham Spa.
    • These daytime services therefore avoided Swansea in both directions. This is normally achieved using the Swansea District Line, but occasionally the service was routed via the "Swansea Avoiding Line" around the back of Landore Train Maintenance Depot instead.
  • A daily train operated at night, arriving and leaving Fishguard Harbour between 1am and 2am.
    • The train operated to and from Swansea, but sometimes originated from stations beyond Swansea.
    • As maintenance of the railways is predominantly done at night, this train was frequently replaced by buses. This was normally known well in advance. When buses replace the trains, the bus usually arrived at Fishguard Harbour at around 02.05 and left after loading/unloading passengers, normally around 02.10.

From September 2011 to May 2017Edit

All services were operated by Arriva Trains Wales. The level of service was greatly enhanced from 12 September 2011 when five extra services per day in each direction commenced running to and from Fishguard Harbour Mondays to Saturdays. The five extra services are as follows:[9]



  • One early-morning trip to Fishguard Harbour from Carmarthen (with no connection from further east)
  • Two arrivals from Cardiff Central
  • Two trips from Clarbeston Road to Fishguard, one of which forms a connection out of a train from Manchester via Cardiff and Swansea (the other has no connection from further east)

These are provided on a trial basis until September 2014 and are in addition to the two daily 'boat-trains', one at lunch time and one in the dead of night, which provide the traditional ferry connections. The extra services are the first regular timetabled services to Fishguard Harbour that have not been provided solely for connection with ferries since local services were withdrawn in 1964. Since the additional services only run Monday to Saturday, only the two trains connecting with ferry services serve the station on a Sunday.

The decision to introduce additional trains has been credited to two teenagers from Moylegrove who collected a 1,440 signature petition in support of the move.[10] A consultation was held in May/June 2011 on the planned services, but did not result in much adjustment to the times. The additional trains for Fishguard initiative has guaranteed funding until 2014, during which a review will be carried out to identify demand and passenger numbers and future funding. The extra services, with trains to and from Cardiff and Clarbeston Road, are not quite what was expected when the Welsh Assembly Government announced it would be funding up to £1.4m annually to provide extra services between Carmarthen and Fishguard.[11]

Current servicesEdit

The ferry sailing schedule was significantly revised in May 2017 resulting in changes to the train times. As a result, there are no longer trains during the night and the 01.50 departure is discontinued. From May 2018 it is proposed to extend the 19.30 from Manchester to Carmarthen to Fishguard Harbour, returning at 02.37 to Carmarthen, with an equivalent bus replacement in the early hours of Sunday.[12]

In October 2018, Transport for Wales took over from Arriva Trains Wales.

Preceding station   National Rail Following station
Fishguard and Goodwick   Transport for Wales
West Wales line
  Ferry services
Terminus   Stena Line
  Rosslare Europort


  1. ^ MacDermot 1931, p. 433
  2. ^ MacDermot 1931, pp. 439–40
  3. ^ MacDermot, E.T. (1931). History of the Great Western Railway, vol. II: 1863-1921. Paddington: Great Western Railway. p. 435.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  4. ^ Archived 24 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ MacDermot 1931, pp. 447–8
  6. ^ a b "Smoking ban loophole on platform". BBC News. 7 October 2007. Retrieved 30 August 2008.
  7. ^ Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith. Western Main Lines - Carmarthen To Fishguard. Middleton Press. ISBN 978-1-906008-66-6.
  8. ^ Gough, Terry (2002). British Railways Past and Present - West Wales. Past & Present Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-85895-175-5.
  9. ^ "Fishguard & Six Nations Timetable" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  10. ^ "Pupils' petition for more Fishguard trains pays off". BBC News. 30 March 2011. Archived from the original on 2 December 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  11. ^ "Funding for extra trains to Fishguard". 30 March 2011. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  12. ^

External linksEdit