SEWTA, Maindy Centre, Crown Way, Cardiff, CF14 3AJ

Sewta releases rail review for public consultation

Date posted: 17 June 11

The South East Wales Transport Alliance today releases details of its latest Rail Strategy Review, which looks at delivering sustainable, safe and reliable services to meet the needs of passengers in South East Wales up to the year 2030.

Wide ranging research was commissioned from transport experts Jacobs Consultancy, included a series of workshops and meetings held with local authorities, the Welsh Government, rail industry partners and rail user groups.

Now the final report, Sewta Rail Strategy Review and Roll Forward Study 2011, is being made publicly available for wider consultation purposes, before Sewta will finalise its updated rail strategy. The deadline for comments is August 12th 2011.

Sewta’s Board meeting in County Hall, Cardiff, (10.30am today June 17th 2011) will be asked to share the report with the public, the Welsh Government and rail industry, to feed into the ongoing implementation of the Welsh Government’s Rail Forward Programme.

The Sewta Rail Strategy Review reconfirms the proposals set out in the current Wales National Transport Plan, and will feed into its next update. It will also be of value in feeding into business case development for electrification, consultation on rail franchising and on Network Rail planning processes. It will also be a key input into the next Regional Transport Plan.

The new strategy seeks to develop a number of additional services, which can be pursued in tandem with Network Rail’s major resignalling renewal projects in the short term, and in association with the potential electrification of the Valley Lines in the medium / long term.

In the last decade rail passenger demand on the Valley Lines has been growing at around six per cent per annum, with some lines experiencing 80% since 2000, and significantly higher than the average for the UK. Recent data suggests that this high rate of demand growth is continuing, and will result in significant train capacity problems requiring additional network capacity.

The Sewta Rail Strategy Study balances the various levels of investment and considers other external factors. It includes:

  • • “Quick Wins” (not requiring major capital or lease costs) in terms of station enhancements and incremental service improvements; including improved station facilities, information, security and access (e.g. additional parking and modern interchange facilities), and additional Sunday, early morning and late evening services;
  • Additional rolling stock to strengthen peak trains to address passenger growth, and to avoid overcrowding, and rolling stock renewal coupled with electrification of the Valley Lines 
  • Further line improvements and station improvements (e.g. via Station Travel Plans), coupled with the investment in electrification to maximise the benefits of electrification, including line speed improvements, and addressing access issues and passenger comfort at stations;
  • Frequency enhancements on existing lines and additional stations.

The review specifically proposes additional services on the

  • Rhymney Line with a new station at Energlyn;
  • Maesteg Line with a new station at Brackla;
  • Ebbw Valley Line between Ebbw Vale and Newport;
  • Barry – Cardiff;
  • Caerphilly – Cardiff enabling faster running of longer distance services;
  • Pontypridd – Cardiff enabling faster running of longer distance services; 
  • Abergavenny Line;
  • Chepstow Line; 
  • Vale of Glamorgan Line.

Additional services on the Valley Lines are required to cope with growth in demand, and will require investment in the network between Cardiff Queen Street North Junction and Cogan Junction, currently being developed within the Network Rail Cardiff Area Signalling Renewal scheme by 2015;

New stations on existing lines are proposed at Caerleon, Llanwern, Coedkernew, St Mellons, St Fagans, Crumlin and Pye Corner.

Network extensions and new stations are proposed at:

  • Ebbw Vale Parkway to Ebbw Vale Town; coupled with the further hourly service to Newport;
  • Aberdare to Hirwaun; with new stations at Trecynon and Hirwaun;
  • Ystrad Mynach to Bedlinog; with new stations at Nelson, Trelewis and Bedlinog;
  • Cardiff to Llantrisant and Beddau (with stations at St Fagans, Talbot Green, Llantrisant, Gwaun Meisgyn & Beddau) 
  • Cardiff – Abertillery new service on the Ebbw Vale line

Sewta will work closely with the Welsh Government, the Wales European Funding Office (WEFO) and the railway industry to seek funding for delivery of the Sewta Rail Strategy.

The full report is available here.


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