There are horror stories about the rail service between Aber and Birmingham, but I've never actually met someone who has been on one of these journies that people claim happen. Basically, the trains leave Aber every 2 hours at around the half hour mark, but the problem with the line is that in many places it is single track, and so delays are quite easy to come by since trains can only pass each other at a couple of places. The other problem is that if there is a problem at any of the stations between Aber and Birmingham, it is very difficult to get past until you reach somewhere a bit bigger like Shrewsbury. For example, if you want to get to Birmingham and there's a signal failure at Wolves, you have to sit around before Wolves until the problem is fixed/hop on a bus service. I live south of Birmingham, and the journey usually takes about 4/4.5 hours - 3 hours from Aber to New Street, a bit of waiting around, then another 50 minutes to where I live. I've done this journey loads of times, and although the train seems to be moving at about 10mph I've never run into any problems. In fact, I'd say the biggest thing is the fact that the trains are usually rammed, and if you haven't booked a ticket you might well have to stand when its peak times.
You have to put the rail service in perspective though, since the journey by car is pretty tiring and very twisty once you hit Wales! Anyway, I'm no veteran of the rail service from Aber, but whenever I've used it its been fine, and most of the time you just sit on a warm train for 3 hours - even get some work done sometimes
EDIT: Just saw your last line about travelling around the country. As much as I doubt you'll be doing this much while you're at uni, travelling around Wales via public transport is a bit of a nightmare, and if you do end up wanting to be going elsewhere to visit people I'd strongly recommend bringing a car. If you just want to get home for reading weeks/holidays/etc though, I'd stick to the train since its pretty cheap.
Last edited by Wookie42; 01-12-2011 at 22:14.