What is the project about?
Cardiff Central, Wales’ busiest station is a principal destination for interregional and intercity services and is the main station hub for the Core Valley Lines network, which will soon be extensively upgraded through the South Wales Metro programme. Cardiff Central has not undergone the comprehensive upgrading and redevelopment experienced by other similar Category A stations. Much of the station has remained unchanged for decades, is in generally poor condition and routinely experiences overcrowding during peak periods. Recent work by Network Rail identified that Cardiff Central was the second worst-performing station in safety terms outside of London. Without urgent upgrades, the station will be unable to safely accommodate projected passenger numbers efficiently during daily peak periods by the mid-2020s.
To address these issues Welsh Government has set up Metro Central which is a set of proposals for a programme of enhancements to the station and surrounding areas.
Options that have been considered as part of the programme include:
Improvements to Cardiff Central rail station:
- Access to platforms including reconfiguration of access to Platforms 1 & 2 to also include disabled access. This includes measures to improve the northern concourse that improve pedestrian areas inside the station to enhancing capacity and ease overcrowding, and more efficient passenger access between subways and platforms; including reconfiguration of gatelines, stairs and lifts to increase capacity.
- Extension of Platform 0 to accommodate nine-car trains to provide greater capacity, operational flexibility, and resilience, to provide the additional platform capacity needed to accommodate proposed service enhancements, including during major events, and improve access to the platform, including redesign of ticketing and commercial area.
- A new station canopy spanning the station platforms, providing enhanced weather protection and an improved customer experience.
- Expanding the southern concourse to accommodate the proposed interface with the rail link to Cardiff Bay. Expansion of the southern concourse is being considered to manage the inclusion of additional passengers and the interchange between this mode and the existing platforms. Commercial opportunities and enhancements for optimum customer experience is being explored for all users of the interchange.
- The decluttering of all the platforms and a rationalisation of the station buildings, to offer more comfortable waiting areas, ensure quicker and safer boarding and alighting, and opportunities to enhance customers’ experiences.
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Improvements in the surrounding area that influence the development that are being considered include:
- A covered link to the new bus interchange should be developed and costed as part of the canopy option.
- Car parking requirements for Cardiff Central Station including a potential new multi storey car park to the south of the station.
- The potential use of Fish Pass Jetty car park for alternative uses to support the overall aspiration for multi- modal (cycle storage, pick up/drop off, taxi rank).
- A new north-south pedestrian link to support integration between modes, to help with the management of major events and to unlock the development potential on the south side area including covered interchange area for taxis, coaches, local bus / tram.
- South Side public realm upgrade with new pedestrian thoroughfares (Public Underpass to be informed by separate study and integrated into PFBC) including provision of space for tram/train to Cardiff Bay (only the provision of an interface and route protection at the station, not the service itself).
- Other quality improvements to support Active Travel, pedestrian links and cycling including provisions to meet the areas targets of space cycle storage.
- Listed building requirements to deliver the wider scheme of improvements.
- Highway access / operations.
- Accessibility for all users.
Rightacres (which owns land around the station) are expected to play a role in funding the programme. They are developing “Central Quay”, a major new mixed-use development directly south of Cardiff Central station.
The plan involves up to 2.5 million square feet of development, including:
- Replacing the existing station surface car park with a multi-storey car park.
- Developing a new interchange encompassing a covered taxi rank, a coach park, cycle hub, and room for a light rail line and stop.
- Developing pedestrian thoroughfares connecting through to the station entrance.
Investment and leverage
Expected benefits and outcomes
The programme aims to create an integrated transport hub that significantly enhances access to central Cardiff as well as catalysing further commercial development in the Cardiff Central Enterprise
The programme is comprised of three parts:
- Rail station enhancement (£92m of investment) to increase capacity and transform the passenger environment
- A new bus interchange (£28m of investment) to provide a secure, enclosed facility for bus users directly adjacent to the rail station; and
- Improved public realm and interchange areas (£94m of investment) with new pedestrian and cycle linkages, interchange facilities for other transport modes (coach, taxi, local metro services), a 1,000-space cycle hub, a new multi-story car park and release of plots for new commercial development.
The programme is comprised of three parts:
- Rail station enhancement to increase capacity and transform the passenger environment
- A new bus interchange to provide a secure, enclosed facility for bus users directly adjacent to the rail station; and
- Improved public realm and interchange areas with new pedestrian and cycle linkages, interchange facilities for other transport modes (coach, taxi, local metro services), a cycle hub, a consolidation of car park provision, and new commercial development.
Key partners and people involved
The following organisations are partners in the project: