Fares, rail policy and DfT news

21.08.20

Welsh railways receive multi-million-pound UK government investment

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced today that momentous progress has been made on moving forward upgrades to Wales’ railways following £343m of funding to help bring better journeys for passengers.

The list of schemes to be funded include the start of designing the Cardiff Central station upgrade, developing plans for revolutionary digital signalling on the Cambrian line and speeding up journeys between Cardiff and Swansea.

Work on a new, modern design for Cardiff Central station will be funded through the release of £5.8m. It will focus on improving access and making platforms suitable for longer trains, enhancing space and capacity for passengers.

The Transport Secretary has also announced £3m to advance plans for upgrading signalling on the 241-kilometre Cambrian line from Shrewsbury Sutton Bridge Junction to Aberystwyth and Pwellheli.

The planned state-of-the-art digital signalling system will modernise the network, enhance the reliability of services, and support the introduction of a new fleet being rolled out across the network in December 2022.

Additionally, almost £2m has been made available for the next phase of modernising work on proposals to speed up journeys between Cardiff and Swansea, Chester and Llandudno Junction, and the Severn Tunnel and Cardiff, through better-aligned tracks and looking at putting additional service on the lines.

This announcement of these new projects follows major reforms to the network over the past months such as completion of a fully electric route between Cardiff and London and the devolution of powers over the Core Valley line to the Welsh government.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The host of improvements we are delivering across Wales, from huge infrastructure upgrades to creating new and modern stations, are vital to deliver better, quicker and more convenient journeys for passengers within, into and out of Wales.

“We want to transform travel for passengers and, as we build back better from COVID-19, we will ensure our investment helps to level up all parts of the UK.

“By upgrading, improving, and crucially modernising our railways, we will make good on our promise to deliver the reliable journeys passengers deserve.”

UK government Minister in Wales David TC Davies said: “Communities across Wales will benefit from this multi-million package of rail investment, aimed at delivering rail services that are fit for the future.

“From proposals to speed up services, improving access for those who need it most and boosting connectivity, these improvements form part of our broader plans to level up the nations and regions of the UK as we rebuild our economy following the coronavirus.

“It was confirmed in June that the Great Western Main Line is now fully electric, revolutionising train travel between Cardiff and London through quicker, more environmentally-friendly journeys. The final remaining section through the Severn Tunnel was completed following a £76 million investment from the UK government.”

James Price, Transport for Wales CEO added: “At Transport for Wales we are continuing with our investment programme and in the last financial year we spent £796 million transforming our rail services. This included £516 million acquiring the Core Valleys Lines, £187 million on the Wales and Borders rail service and an additional £28 million on projects and service operation.

“At the start of the year we opened our Metro Infrastructure Hub in Treforest and construction has begun on our £100 million Metro Control Centre in Taff’s Well as we continue to deliver the South Wales Metro that will bring social, economic, recreational and cultural benefits to the people of Wales. We welcome any further funding as we move forward with our transformational plans.”

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