Regional Transport Consortium Sewta has now launched its consultation on its latest Rail Strategy Review, aimed at improving services in South East Wales up to 2030.
The aim of the Rail Strategy is to provide the evidence base to support the concept of a South East Wales Metro. It also underpins the recommendations made by the ‘South East Wales Integrated Transport Task Force’ in March, which are presently being considered by the Minister for the Economy, Science and Transport.
Following the announcements on electrification, in 2012, the South East Wales Transport Alliance, which co-ordinates transport strategy, plans and programmes for the 10 local councils of South East Wales, commissioned research from transport experts, Jacobs UK Ltd, to bring their strategy up-to-date.
Sewta’s Board has agreed that the report, ‘Sewta Rail Strategy 2013 – Electrification’, which has been prepared in consultation with the rail industry, should be made publicly available for wider consultation purposes, before being formally adopted by Sewta.
The closing date for comments is September 30th. They can be sent by post (see website for address), or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
The ‘Sewta Rail Strategy Review 2013 – Electrification’ sets out an approach based around three themes:
Coping with Growth;
Increasing the Reach of the Network.
The Strategy highlights the following conclusions:
• There is a need to ensure that the maximum benefits of electrification are achieved, such as ensuring sufficient on-train capacity, and lengthening of platforms at certain stations;
• The business case for service improvements and network extensions is strongly improved by an electrified rail network due to substantial reductions in operating costs;
• There is long-term potential and benefits of extending electrification to all parts of the South East Wales rail network;
• Passenger demand on the Valley Lines has been growing at six per cent per annum, higher than the UK average, with some lines experiencing 80 per cent growth since 2000;
• This high rate of demand growth will cause train capacity problems, requiring additional network capacity;
• Growth in freight traffic also needs to be accommodated.
The Strategy explains how investment in rail provides a sustainable transport solution to these problems, providing improved access between the Valleys and the Cities, and along the M4 Corridor, by replacing car trips and reducing congestion in the region.
The Strategy proposes to build on the record of success in the region, with Five Passenger Lines reopened since 1985 (Aberdare Line, City Line (Cardiff), Maesteg Line, Vale of Glamorgan Line and Ebbw Valley Line) and 34 new stations.
The details of the updated Sewta Rail Strategy include:
1. Coping with Growth - Additional rolling stock
2. Quick Wins - Station enhancements and service improvements, including new Sunday services on the Maesteg and Coryton Lines;
3. Frequency enhancements on existing lines - additional services on the:
o Rhymney Line (with a new station at Energlyn);
o Maesteg Line (with a new station at Brackla);
o Vale of Glamorgan Line;
o Barry, Caerphilly and Pontypridd to Cardiff lines;
o Ebbw Valley Line - between Ebbw Vale and Newport;
o Abergavenny and Chepstow Lines;
o Cardiff – Bristol line.
4. Increasing the Reach of the Network: New stations at:
o Upper Boat
o Caerleon, Coedkernew and Llanwern
o Albany Road / Crwys Road, St Fagans and St Mellons,
o At Crumlin and Pye Corner
o Ebbw Vale Parkway to Ebbw Vale Town;
o Aberdare to Hirwaun; with a new station at Trecynon;
o Ystrad Mynach to Bedlinog; (with new stations at Nelson, and Trelewis);
o Llanhilleth - Abertillery ;
o Pontyclun to Beddau (with stations at Talbot Green, Llantrisant, and Gwaun Meisgyn);
o Caerphilly – Machen – Newport.
The capital costs estimated for the schemes within the programme average £19.5m per annum. Revenue costs would increase over the initial ten years of the strategy to between £13m and £15m per year. Thereafter, increasing revenues would offset additional costs. The majority of that benefit occurs in 2020, when electrification will reduce operating costs.
The Study also recommends electrification of the Abergavenny / Shrewsbury and Chepstow / Gloucester Lines.
Councillor Phil White, Chair of Sewta, and Cabinet Member for Communities at Bridgend County Borough Council, said:
“This Strategy Update demonstrates how electrification is strengthening the case for a host of further enhancements to the regional rail network. This report sets out an exciting programme for the next two decades. I would encourage communities and businesses throughout the region to let us know what they think about the priorities set out in the report.”
The full report is available at: http://www.sewta.gov.uk/other-documents/sewta-rail-strategy/