Cardiff Capital Region has unveiled a far-reaching Passenger Rail Vision that will be key to South East Wales’ success in levelling-up, scaling-up and building back better to improve the economic, health and social outcomes for everyone in the region – as well as playing a critical part in CCR’s commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions, through:
“A strategic public transport network for the Cardiff Capital Region providing a high-quality, reliable, efficient and affordable transport services to support sustainable economic development and social regeneration.”
The key feature of the CCR vision is a high quality, integrated grid of rail and bus services to be delivered and delivered over the next 10-15 years – creating a single joined up network to meet passenger needs and the Welsh Government’s decarbonisation targets; as well as being the catalyst for a range of transport related economic development and regeneration interventions right across the region.
Cllr. Huw David, Chair of the Cardiff Capital Region Transport Authority said:
“Investing in our transport infrastructure is key to meeting all of our economic and social ambitions” It is critical to everything from enabling flexible working, regenerating town centres, meeting decarbonisation targets – and bringing the inclusive prosperity and wellbeing that everyone in our region deserves.”
Key pillars of the strategy include:
- A major upgrade of the South Wales Main Line (SWML) to form the backbone of the region’s public transport network through new stations and a mix of intercity express and local commuter services.
- Measures to address current rail bottlenecks to allow more services on the Ebbw Valley, Marches, Maesteg, Vale of Glamorgan, City and Coryton Lines.
- Upgrade of, and connections between, existing rail lines to create the Cardiff Crossrail, Circle and the NW Corridor extension to RCT, and an extension from Aberdare to Hirwaun.
- Developing options for enhanced cross – valley connectivity, both bus and tram-train
- Introduction of further new stations, in addition to those included in the core CVL transformation, to connect more people and places to the Metro network.
The newly-released Passenger Rail Vision provides the foundation for further formal assessment of scope, phasing, costing and refinement of the emerging multi-modal proposals, as well as exploration of means to secure long-term capital and revenue funding. Progress will depend on collaborative working with key partners including local authorities, Welsh Government, Transport for Wales, Network Rail and the UK Government.
Cllr. Huw David added:
“This is a moment in time we simply have to grasp and this landmark strategy can give us the connectivity we need and drive major economic regeneration in places that include Bridgend Town Centre and the Ford Site, Cardiff Airport and St Athan, Cardiff City Centre and the Bay, the Ebbw Vale Enterprise Zone, Merthyr Town Centre, Nantgarw, Newport City Centre, Pontypridd Town Centre and Treforest – as well as inform the emerging plans for Cyfarthfa Castle and key hubs such Aberdare, Barry Town, Caerphilly and Pontypool.”
Mark Barry Professor of Practice in Connectivity, School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University, applauds the ambition and notes the rapid need to implement this vision:
“It goes well beyond the ‘Metro’ project that I first mooted in 2011 to connect Cardiff, Newport and the Valleys and enhance connectivity to/from the Cardiff Capital Region and Swansea, Bristol and London. The climate emergency requires us to provide viable public transport alternatives to help reduce current high levels of car use. As importantly, the proposals can be a catalyst for post-covid regeneration and sustainable economic development including measures to encourage the relocation of our car-based offices, retail, leisure and public services back to town and city centres right across the region.
You can download the document here.