Future-proofing Our Rail Infrastructure
This will include a high quality, integrated grid of public transport services (bus and rail) that presents a single joined up network to the passenger. Wales has the benefit of being small and compact and with its strategic location and desirable natural environment could be one of the most highly connected and accessible economies in the world.
However, over a prolonged period of time Wales has suffered from chronic underinvestment in its rail infrastructure.
The situation, which has resulted in a usage rate of 10% compared to private vehicles at 80% , now demands a forward thinking rail and integrated transport vision that incorporates proposals that radically change our mobility ecosystem. The opportunities for so doing are immense and will as
- Enable the region to function as a single coherent economic entity by linking communities with all major commercial, social and, health and leisure attractions.
- Facilitate sustainable economic growth by ensuring all major new development sites across the region are linked by metro services at the outset to embed sustainable travel choices.
- Facilitate more efficient labour markets.
- Offer significant environmental and wellbeing benefits e.g. reductions in carbon emissions, traffic congestion, RTA’s.
Accordingly, we are now working to bring forward ambitious plans for the development and expansion of our public transport. The proposition outlined is focussed on our strategic rail priorities.
The key rail components of the vision 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. Specifically there is a need for more services from Bristol Temple Meads though Newport and Cardiff to Swansea and West Wales.
- Measures to address bottlenecks on the rail network to allow more services to Ebbw Valley, Marches Line, Maesteg Branch, The Vale of Glamorgan (VoG) line and the City and Coryton lines in Cardiff.
- Enhancements to the core valley lines through re-use of freight and the introduction of further new stations.
- Development of the Cardiff Crossrail, Circle and NW Corridor to deliver high quality and frequent public transport (PT) services across much of urban Cardiff, Cardiff Bay and extended into RCT to Talbot Green and Pontyclun.
- Radically enhanced core valley links. By integrating through high quality interchanges N+S rail services and E+W links we can make more journeys between the valleys viable and affordable.
- Longer term there is the potential to re-connect Caerphilly and Newport with rail services using tram-train, the on-street tramway capability of which can be applied in Newport to help avoid conflicts with the congested SWML and support regeneration in Newport
- Schemes across Wales and the UK that could help the CCR economy include:
- Western Rail Access to Heathrow,
- Enhancement to HS2 Phase 2 and the rail lines south west from Birmingham to allow more services to/from Cardiff to use HS2 to serve places like Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and onto Edinburgh and Glasgow;
- Integrated Metro development in Swansea Bay and Bristol
- Improved N-S services in Wales.
This programme also presents the opportunity to augment these benefits through a range of station focused development and regeneration interventions to maximise the benefits of the investment in our public transport network.
- £2bn – Capital investment contribution to progress the schemes outlined in the Passenger Rail Vision document (included with this document).
- Fiscal Levers – Introduction of fiscal levers and incentives such as tax increment financing.