Work has started on the biggest programme to ease congestion in Wales

Posted: 6 August 2012 | | No comments yet

The scheme aims to provide hundreds of extra rush-hour seats each day on rail services on the Cardiff and Valleys’ network…

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The scheme aims to provide hundreds of extra rush-hour seats each day on rail services on the Cardiff and Valleys’ network.

The five-phase scheme starts with the Vale of Glamorgan, and over three years will see:

  • over 300 signals replaced
  • over 12 miles of track replaced
  • 59 sets of points replaced
  • seven additional platforms built across the Cardiff and Valleys’ rail network, including at Barry, Caerphilly, Pontypridd and Tir-Phil stations
  • a new station at Energlyn
  • new entrance buildings and facilities at Cardiff Central (south side) and Cardiff Queen Street stations – these stations account for 67% of all passenger demand on the South Wales Valleys’ network and cater for almost 12.5m passengers every year

More trains, more seats, better services

The scheme will remove the rail bottleneck between Cardiff Central and Queen Street stations, allowing 16 passenger trains an hour to run through the area – a 25% increase. The extra capacity will also allow more freight trains to run through Cardiff helping to support businesses in their transport of goods to and from Wales.

The work is an important first step towards electrifying the Valleys’ network.

“The city has the largest travelling workforce in Wales with around 37% of the workforce commuting from neighbouring authorities, in particular, from the Valleys. A large number of that workforce relies on rail and usage is expected to increase by 8% on average each year, adding further demand on an already-congested railway. On a network as busy as ours, this work is the equivalent of conducting open heart surgery on the railway whilst keeping daily services running with the minimum of disruption.” Mark Langman, route managing director, Wales

To minimise disruption, the work over the next three years will be mostly carried out at night when trains are not running. We’ll also use innovative techniques such as the use of lightweight signals to reduce installation time whilst achieving cost-savings.

With the 1960s signalling system completely modernised, rail services will also become more reliable and compatible with an electrified railway.

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