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OVERCROWDING on trains in North Wales has led to concerns being raised over the lack of social distancing.

Pictures were shared this week showing passengers crammed into carriages.

The problems were brought to the Senedd’s attention yesterday by Arfon MS Sian Gwenllian, who compared the lack of enforcement with the strict measures in place in food establishments.

Addressing First Minister Mark Drakeford, she said:

“Constituents in Arfon understand why cafes and restaurants are concerned that their customers maintain social distancing and adhere to test and trace protocols.

“That of course is a requirement under the law, to prevent the spread of COVID.

“But my constituents don’t understand why similar guidance aren’t provided for Transport for Wales trains, where there is no social distancing on carriages, and no Track and Trace in force, so there is a genuine risk that the virus is being spread across the nation.

“Could you give an explanation about this difference, please?”

In response, Mr Drakeford said: “These are difficult practical challenges. Passengers on trains do enter and leave trains in every station, which is utterly different to the situation in a cafe of course.

“What the people running the system are endeavouring to do is to assess a number of different factors that could lead to risks within the system.

“It would be possible to run more trains, and in so doing reduce overcrowding.

“But that would mean that we would have to cut down on the current hygiene regime, which in itself reduces the risk of infection, particularly for the staff working on those trains, so there are no simple solutions to these problems.

“What I am convinced of is that everyone working in this area is working every day to try and run the system in a way that keeps people safe.”

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