Resuming train service from Lydney & Chepstow to Gloucester & Cheltenham for school kids

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Two crucial train services which children from the Forest of Dean and Monmouthshire catch to commute to secondary schools have been withdrawn, the 07.25 from Lydney (07.15 from Chepstow) to Gloucester and Cheltenham and the return journey train which arrives at Lydney at 16.45 and Chepstow at 16.55 by Cross Country Trains. Also, until the week after next you need to change at Gloucester to get to Cheltenham, adding hours onto a long daily commute.

The Government want us to get #backtoschool but the above scenario means:-

-       Logistical challenges of getting to school, many children having to be driven 

-       Traffic congestion will increase on the A48 which already bottlenecks before  Gloucester

-      Increased journey times by an hour or more each day and hanging around in stations for extended periods is not good for mental health

-     Current schedule drives safety and safeguarding concerns such as travelling in the dark. 

-      At this time there is no provision at the Gloucester Station café for warmth and safety

-       From a covid19 safety point of view, trains will be more crowded so children won't get home before the commuters, so it makes things more difficult in terms of social distancing

-       Long days will mean increased fatigue and less time for homework which will knock onto later nights, increased stress and impact on academic success. 

-      Different pick-up and drop-off times for different children. My children will be on different trains and times will be different so that creates double the drop-offs and pick-ups

-      The children will miss out on local community activities such as tennis, hockey, swimming, football because a lot of it starts at 5 pm which will affect their wellness

-       It will put kids off from applying to Grammar schools and accessing educational opportunities in Gloucester and Cheltenham. So there is an immediate issue and a longer term risk that the withdrawal of trains services limits kids access to education

-       Catching the train encourages independence and grows life skills in children, and this benefit will be lost. Children travel to Gloucester / Cheltenham regularly at the weekend with their train passes

-       Children are anxious about their return to school after over 23 weeks and this travel uncertainty is leading to more stress

If Cross Country Trains or Transport for Wales reinstate this service, journey times will be reduced, our children will be happier and healthier, our locality will be greener, we'll have less traffic on the roads, our children will be together again on the train which makes it safer, our children will be safe, our community will benefit and after over 23 weeks of childcare parents will be able to get back to work properly.  

So please could you sign our petition and help us get signatures to reinstate the 7.25 Lydney (07.15 Chepstow) > Glos / Cheltenham train and the 16.11 Cheltenham to Lydney (16.55 Chepstow) train. We would be so very grateful.