MONMOUTHSHIRE councillors have raised concerns over a 'drop in standards' of train services in the county.

Councillors across the political divide backed a motion raising concerns over the issue and pledging to write to the Welsh Government for answers at a full council meeting on Thursday.

The motion, proposed by Cllr Jo Watkins (Liberal Democrats, Caldicot Castle ward), says: "Transport for Wales took over the new rail franchise in the autumn.

"Since they did so services have been repeatedly cut to the stations in Monmouthshire."

It adds: "We ask that this council writes to Welsh Government to ask why the standards of service have dropped so significantly and what direction the Welsh government is giving to Transport for Wales to solve these issues."

Cllr Watkins said the main commuter service from Monmouthshire to Bristol and Cardiff was cancelled 17 days out of 25 in October and November.

She said: "The Severn Bridge tolls may have come off but this is not the time for our rail services to become completely unreliable, otherwise we will be pushing people into their cars and increasing traffic and air pollution."

Cllr Watkins raised concern that services into the Valleys appeared to be being prioritised above the Monmouthshire line.

Transport for Wales took over the management of Wales' rail in October, with KeolisAmery responsible for running services on the Wales and Borders network.

Cllr Tony Easson (Labour, Dewstow) said he had also been contacted by several people in his ward with concerns.

He said he had been told the issues were due to storm damage and difficulties in the autumn.

Cabinet member for county operations, Cllr Bryan Jones, said he would raise the issue again.

"The service has been absolutely atrocious," he added.

In a statement, Colin Lea, customer experience director for Transport for Wales Rail Services, apologised to those affected in Monmouthshire.

He said: "We recognise how challenging this autumn was for our customers with a number of services cut across our network.

"This was due to unprecedented damage to our trains resulting in a quarter of our fleet being out of action.

"Every effort was made to restore trains to service with our engineers carrying out more than 1,000 hours of overtime.

"We had to make a number of difficult decisions on which services we would be able to run which led to some cancellations on all parts of our network."