Pilning is an unstaffed single platform station situated on the South Wales main line between Cardiff and Bristol. Long neglected by the railway authorities, it has no service at all on Mondays to Fridays or on Sundays, and has just two trains on Saturdays. Unsurprisingly, with such a poor service, it is currently the 3rd least used station in the country, with just 23 entries recorded in 2015/16. In the Autumn of 2016, the footbridge at Pilning station was removed to provide clearance for the installation of the overhead electric power supply for new trains. The westbound platform subsequently closed, thus limiting our travel to only two Saturday trains, both in the same direction towards Bristol - one at 08:33, the other at 13:35. To get back from Bristol, you have to go through Pilning non-stop to Severn Tunnel Junction, change trains there (after a three quarters of an hour's wait) and come back again.
However, it needn't be like this. As a result of the publicity surrounding the footbridge demolition, usage is already up on 2015/16. Even minor improvements in service would make the station more attractive to potential users - an extra Saturday afternoon train would give people more time in Bristol, and would enable visitors and rail enthusiasts to visit Pilning for a drink and a pub lunch at the nearby Plough Inn and catch the later train back. An early-morning Monday-Friday train to Bristol would give people a fast route to work or college, as an alternative to the slow and circuitous Severn Beach branch which is very crowded in the mornings. Restoration of platform lighting (removed about 30 years ago as it was allegedly life-expired) would enable trains to call again after dark.
A significant increase in usage would add strength to any future requests for more regular services, enhanced station facilities, and ultimately the reinstatement of the footbridge and of Platform 2. We are running a campaign to achieve a target of 218 tickets before 01/04/2018.