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Newport? More old judging by this station...
Newport Railway Station
Member Name: k8eh
Newport Railway Station
Advantages: Frequent services, 4 platforms
Disadvantages: Unclean, impolite staff, in need of lots of work.
Before learning to drive I used to pass through this train station quite regularly as my family live 175 miles away. I've never been particularly impressed with this train station and in my opinion it needs a lot of work done to bring it up to scratch.
Unless you know the city well, the location isn't brilliant. Although it is on the edge of the city centre, it would be near impossible for a visitor to find the bus station and although there is a busstop outside the services aren't regular. However there is a taxi rank attached to the station, but be warned, they are on the meter and can be quite expensive so it's worth doing your research and finding another taxi company who aren't.
For short stay such as picking somebody up there is a small car park right outside the station which is quite convenient, however be warned the taxis tend to take over! Parking in this area is limited to just 20 minutes with fines in place for overstayers. For long stay parking there is a pay and display car park situated to the back of the station, however if you park here you enter the station through platform 4 meaning you need to walk the whole station if you haven't already purchased a ticket.
On entering you are greeted by a wide space with cashiers to your right along with the information centre, ticket machines for immediate travel and service information to your left. And barriers in front of you in which you have to insert your ticket to gain entrance to the rest of the station. It's not an impressive entrance and you don't feel like your in a large upcoming city but more a shoddy small town station thats in need of a little tlc.
I find myself becoming increasingly annoyed with the staff at Newport station. On one occasion, I entered at 4.57pm and the lady refused to serve me as she was going on her break at 5pm. How long does it take to print a ticket?! On another occasion the cashier had put up a sign saying they'd be back of break at 5.30pm and at 5.40pm the blinds were still down.
I was also disgusted by the presentation, now I know it's not a 5 star resort but the staff are still greeting the public and should look somewhat respectable, not wearing 3 inch tacky red false nails and chomping on gum whilst serving.
This is only open office hours and here you can inquire about prices and times and book journeys in advance. I have no complaints about this area and would advise you check here a few weeks before travelling as this can save you money.
The entrance to the station has two large double automatic doors and the barriers have a specially adapted wider aisle for pushchairs and wheelchairs.
There is a lift to Platforms 2 and 3 though I'm not sure if this is in effect for 4. To locate the lift you turn left on entering platform 1 then an immediate left before the stairs, this will lead you down a particular nasty subway (smelly, unclean) then you will find the lift.
There used to be 3 platforms, but a fourth has been recently added.
Platforms 1 and 2 are typically visited by trains heading West, stations such as Cardiff and Swansea.
Due to Newport being the last stop on the way to the capital, trains from these platform are regular with one every 10 minutes or so.
Platform 3 was for services heading East and North. This was the platform I frequented mostly.
Now with the recent addition of platform 4, there is more of a divide and services North tend to depart from Platform 3 and East from Platform 4.
Platform 4 is quite modern and clean but looks out of place in comparison with the others as they are in dire need of updating and improvement works. They are quite dirty and the connecting walk ways, elevators and bridges have a distinct smell of urine which is not pleasant especially if you have a long wait between services. However, due to Newport being host city for the 2010 Ryder Cup, it will be undergoing lots of improvement.
Each platform has benches and seating and unless you're travelling at peak times you will be able to sit whilst waiting for your service. There are electronic boards on each platform giving information of services, times they are expected etc. Outside of shop opening times, they are vending machines if you're feeling peckish but as is the norm with train stations, the prices are quite high.
On platform 1 is a small WHSmith, which is convenient for long distance travellers as you can pick up snacks, drinks and magazines but it doesn't open outside of normal WHSmith hours. Platform 2/3 has a small cafe called "The Lemon Tree" which has indoors seating and serves hot drinks, baguettes and the like, again though it's quite expensive and I find some of the staff to be quite rude and on some occasions ignorant as they've chatted whilst ignoring queueing customers.
The toilets are also situated on Platforms 2/3 but if you can avoid using them I would advise this, they're not very hygienic and as a woman on the occasions I've been unable to hold it in I've had to 'hover' and use pocket tissues as the tissue hasn't be stocked up.
Services and Destinations:
The are many regular services to lots of popular stations and more. There is the usual handy wallchart with times and destinations in alphabetical order which is quite helpful and as Newport is close to both the capital of Wales (Cardiff) and the large city of Bristol it is used frequently by commuters.
It's not brilliant, but after all it is just a stop gap on your journey. I've never really come across any delays or problems at Newport but do find that trains are usually packed when they arrive during peak times as they've either come from Cardiff or Bristol. I can't say I'd recommend it as such... unless you have to pass through, there's no real reason to visit this station.
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