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The name Fishguard conjures a sense of adventure. Rightly so, for the vast majority of travellers, Fishguard is a mere stepping stone on the long journey to Ireland. However the traditional Boat train starts from London some 4 1/2 hours earlier but we join it an hour into its journey at Swindon. The direct line from Swindon, via Bristol Parkway, was built to reduce the journey time from South Wales in conjunction with the Severn Tunnel. For most of our journey in the cab of a first Great Western High Speed Train, we are travelling through Wales on the country's major main line – the South Wales. Engineered by I.K.Brunel it was the last main line to be built to the 7ft broad gauge. Being isolated from the rest of the burgeoning rail network in South Wales, it was converted to standard gauge just years after completion. Today the route is traversed by a half hourly HST to Cardiff and an hourly HST to Swansea. One service a day continues to fishguard in connection with the Stena Line ferry to the Emerald Isle. The double line eventually gives way to a single track at Clarbeston Road. The 15 3/4 mile Fishguard branch is worked by electric token.
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