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Passenger rail strategy published for south-east Wales

Words: Roger Milne
Rail / Shutterstock_167720543

The Cardiff Capital Region has published a blueprint for passenger rail services across south-east Wales, which has been endorsed by the 10 local authorities involved in the area’s growth deal.

The report calls for a high-quality, integrated grid of rail and bus services to be delivered over the next 10 to 15 years that would create a single joined-up network to meet passenger needs and the Welsh Government’s decarbonisation targets.

The proposed integrated grid of rail and bus services – supported by new transport hubs – would connect communities across the region. It would also be the catalyst for a range of transport-related economic development and regeneration initiatives.

Key pillars of the strategy include:

  • a major upgrade of the South Wales Main Line to form the backbone of the region’s public transport network through new stations and a mix of intercity express and local commuter services;
  • measures to address current rail bottlenecks to allow more services on the Ebbw Valley, Marches, Maesteg, Vale of Glamorgan, City and Coryton lines;
  • upgrade of, and connections between, existing rail lines to create the Cardiff Crossrail and an extension from Aberdare to Hirwaun;
  • developing options for enhanced cross – valley connectivity, both bus and tram-train; and
  • the introduction of further new stations to connect more people and places to the proposed Metro network.

The strategy also calls for the reconnection of Caerphilly with Newport by making use of the Machen freight line and introducing tram train services in Newport to support regeneration.

Huw David, chair of the Cardiff Capital Region Transport Authority, said the proposals would drive major economic regeneration in places such as “Bridgend town centre and the Ford site, Cardiff Airport and St Athan, Cardiff city centre and the Bay, the Ebbw Vale Enterprise Zone, Merthyr town centre, Nantgarw, Newport city centre, Pontypridd town centre and Treforest – as well as inform the emerging plans for Cyfarthfa Castle and key hubs such Aberdare, Barry Town, Caerphilly and Pontypool”.

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