Welsh rail line, via Istock

Wales’ £1.6bn transport network transformation

The Welsh Government has invested more than £1.6bn to fund a series of collective transport programmes throughout the country, with aims to massively decarbonise the public transport network.

This plan will see the delivery of exciting new trains, hydrogen fuelled buses and tripling walking and cycling routes. To ensure the smooth delivery of these projects, key partners, including local authorities and Transport for Wales, are responsible for the development of the regional transport plans for all four segments of Wales and meeting the needs of local communities.

Deputy Minister Lee Waters said:

“We are all focused on building a new transport system that is high quality and sustainable.

“I want to make the right thing to do the easy thing to do and that means encouraging more people out of their cars to walk, cycle, or use public transport.

“We do that by improving our public transport and active travel network routes – it makes sense that people will choose to travel this way if low carbon transport options become more attractive, more affordable and easier to use.”

“It’s also the right and responsible thing to do for the environment and essential as we work towards a stronger, greener, fairer Wales.”

A major concern throughout Wales, for some time, has been the risks associated with transport related social exclusion, seeing people in remote locations facing an uphill battle to find accessible work opportunities and leisure activities across the region. It is hoped that transforming rail services throughout Wales will significantly remove this isolation and see major growth in a social and economic context, whilst contributing to decarbonisation goals.

North Wales Metro

For the first time in generations, direct services between North Wales and Liverpool have been reinstated, accompanied by the unlocking of active travel routes that will connect local residents to bus and train stations in Flintshire, Wrexham, and Gwynedd.

Though a plethora of journeys are currently made via walking and cycling, the next 20 years will see ground-breaking strides towards incentivising this further, as plans are currently in place to level up connections to stations near Bangor, Flint, Holyhead, Llandudno, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay, Shotton, Deeside, Wrexham, Rhyl and Prestatyn.

Work is also under way to progress a forward-thinking masterplan for Holyhead which recognises its critical role in transport and economic development.

Swansea Bay and West Wales Metro

Current works on the creation of an integrated transport network in the Swansea Bay area are storming ahead, with detailed development and design works taking shape.

Whilst these progressions are moving forward, the Welsh Government has taken steps to make changes to improve public transport and active travel in the short term. This can be seen through the popular decision to combine bus and rail tickets on the T1 Traws Cymru service linking Aberystwyth and Carmarthen and converting the vehicles and depot facilities to battery electric operation.

The TfW is also developing two large scale pilots for Swansea Bay and the Haven Waterway to introduce a fleet of hydrogen fuel cell buses by the mid-2020s, supporting the wider decarbonisation of the bus fleet in Wales.

South Wales Metro

The South of Wales is seeing the delivery of major rail network upgrades, innovative public transport hubs and active travel routes across south Wales.

A new £100 million Integrated Control Centre and train depot at Taffs Well is progressing nicely and will have a major part to play in maximising capacity on the core valleys line, as well as housing the new fleet of tram trains. Some people are already benefitting from the new trains with a plan for up to 95% of all rail passengers to travel on the new trains by 2025.

An integrated transport network will develop a system that incorporates a Pay as You Go ticketing scheme using contactless debit/credit cards, building on the prior success of a system that was conducted in North Wales last year, with a trial on train and bus services between Cardiff and Newport coming into play later this year.

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