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05/03/2015

Rail study moots Cardiff centre station redevelopment and electrified North Wales line

Words: Roger Milne
Cardiff Station / Flickr_4700012405_49349c6131_o

A large-scale redevelopment of Cardiff central station and plans to electrify the North Wales main line are among highlights in Network Rail's latest strategy for the country over the next 30 years.

Its Welsh Route Study, just published, forecasts that rail travel into the Welsh capital will grow from 13 to 33 million by 2043.

Its proposals aim to meet that demand and improve connectivity across the country. Potential development options include:

• Modernisation of the North Wales coast main line between Crewe and Holyhead;

• Redevelopment of Cardiff central station;

• More seats on Cardiff Valley line services during peak times;

• The development of the Cardiff city metro proposals;

• Extra peak services on the Heart of Wales line from Swansea to Shrewsbury;

• Extra carriages on selected Marches Line services between Cardiff and Manchester;

• Increased network capacity between Wrexham and Chester;

• Improved line speeds between Wrexham and Bidston for connections to Liverpool; and

• Additional peak services on the Cambrian line from Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury.

The strategy suggests there could be a new interchange station at Shotton, Flintshire, and improved line speeds on the North Wales coast main line and relief routes between Severn Tunnel Junction and Cardiff.

Tim James, head of strategy and planning for Network Rail Wales, said passenger numbers would continue to increase and although work over the next five years - including line electrification and signalling - would improve reliability and the potential for more and faster journeys, there was still more to do to meet demand.

Image courtesy of Matt Buck

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