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Route study proposes Welsh railways expansion, and new design for Cardiff Central

Welsh railways are set to expand in CP6 to accommodate growing passenger numbers, according to the new route study from Network Rail.

The study recommends a number of choices for funders before 2023, including increasing capacity on the Valley Lines, continuing adding additional peak services on the Heart of Wales line, modernisation and improved line speeds on the North Wales Coast line, capacity improvements between Chester and Wrexham, and improved all day frequency on the Cambrian Main Line.

The report also says that Cardiff Central station should be rebuilt to accommodate increasing numbers of commuters and visitors for major events, leading to an estimated growth in passengers from 13 million in 2013 to 23 million in 2023 and 32 million in 2043, and to improve passenger satisfaction.

It lays out plans, developed in collaboration with Cardiff Council, which include lengthening the Central’s Platform 0 to accommodate SETs, reinstating a west facing Platform 5, and adding another full-length platform in the London direction by 2043.

Like Network Rail’s route study for the East Midlands, the study assumes a significant growth in passenger figures.

It predicts flow will increase by 34% by 2023 and 142% by 2043 between London and Cardiff, by 21% and 78% between the Cambrian Lines and the West Midlands, and by 20% and 77% between the North Wales Coast and South Wales.

Changes already planned in CP5 will create the potential for up to 49 more trains to arrive at Cardiff during the morning peak hour.

The picture for freight is more mixed depending on the type of product. For example, biomass is set to increase from 10 million net tonne kilometre in 2011 to 50 million in 2044, but ESI coal will decline from 190 million to 20 million.

Longer term options for 2043 include upgrading the relief line between Severn Tunnel Junction and Cardiff Central and improvements to Newport Station including a bay platform.

The study also recommends a programme of level crossing closures in West Wales to improve journey times and passenger safety. Network Rail has closed over 990 level crossings since 2010 as part of its Rail Upgrade Plan.

The Welsh government has launched a consultation on the next Wales and Border service, including metro rail services to the south east.

(Top image c. Mattbuck. Bottom image: redesigned Cardiff station, c. Powell Dobson)


Jack   01/04/2016 at 11:25

They do not however mention the proposed plan for rebuilding the rail link between Carmarthen and Aberystwyth. This may be low priority but it does propose a relinking of many communities which need the railway to reconnect them, booting the economies.

Ian Dinmore   04/04/2016 at 10:07

This does not take onto account the reduce Steel traffic flows either! Given that Freight is a contributor to the cost of track access charges, will this burden now fall on the TOC's making them less profitable? Rail Archive

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