Work has begun on a £220m scheme to boost capacity on the railway in South Wales.
Starting with the Vale of Glamorgan line the three-year programme will include the replacement of over 300 signals, 12 miles of track and 59 sets of points. Seven more platforms will be built at stations including Cardiff, Barry, Caerphilly, Pontypridd and Tir-Phil.
The scheme will remove the rail bottleneck between Cardiff Central and Queen Street, allowing 16 trains per hour to run through the area – a 25 per cent 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. Cardiff Central (south side) and Cardiff Queen Street will also see new entrance buildings. These stations account for 67 per cent of passenger demand on the South Wales network and cater for almost 12.5m passengers every year. A new station will also be built to serve the growing community at Energlyn.
The work is an important first step towards electrifying the Welsh Valleys network. The recent decision to electrify much more of the South Wales network was based on the three-year plan to boost capacity.
Says Mark Langman, route managing director for Network Rail Wales, ‘We need to expand today’s railway to cater for tomorrow’s needs, and we are getting ahead of the game. Through this investment, passengers will significantly benefit from the potential to run more services and a better performing railway, which is also vital to support Cardiff as a key economic centre for Wales.’