Why are you building the South Wales Metro first?
Plans to invest in and develop the South Wales Metro have been in the pipeline for a number of years and have been made possible thanks to a mix of local authority (City Deal) funding and European Regional Development Funding.
We’re investing £5 billion in the Wales and Borders rail service as a whole and we’ve also started work on the North Wales Metro scheme which will take shape in the coming years. Plans for the Swansea Bay Metro are also in their early stages.
We need a better rail service now – why do we have to wait for the South Wales Metro?
We have ambitious plans for rail services in Wales and the borders which will take time to implement, but we’re also committed to providing our customers with the best possible service as soon as possible. This why we’re currently investing £40 million to improve our current fleet and fund additional services, customer experience and accessibility improvements.
We’re also introducing a range of improvements for our customers across the Wales and Borders rail service in December 2019:
- more four-carriage trains on peak services combined with other rolling-stock changes, creating space for up to 6,500 more commuters a week.
- introducing additional trains across the Wales and Borders rail network.
- modern trains with more space, onboard passenger information systems, accessible toilets, air conditioning, Wi-Fi and power sockets between Cheltenham and Maesteg, and between Cardiff and Ebbw Vale.
- more modern carriages on some long-distance services between North Wales and Manchester.
Why are some lines getting more frequent services?
The Welsh Government is taking ownership of the Core Valleys Lines from the UK Government which means TfW will be able to run faster, more frequent and greener services.
Where our services run on lines managed by our partners Network Rail for the UK Government, we can only run as many services as the infrastructure allows and further work to increase capacity would need to be undertaken.
The Welsh Government is continuing to press for the devolution of powers to improve Wales’ rail infrastructure, enabling decisions to be made in Wales.
Why are you only electrifying the Core Valleys Lines?
The Welsh Government is taking ownership of the Core Valleys Lines from the UK Government and electrification is part of a £738 million investment in these lines. Electrifying these lines means that we can provide faster, more frequent and greener services.
Other lines in Wales are still managed by our partners Network Rail on behalf of the UK Government.
What are your plans for extending the Metro network and opening more stations?
The South Wales Metro is designed to be flexible and to be extended. We currently have plans to build or relocate five stations, as well as a short on-street extension in Cardiff Bay, which will be a pilot for more new lines in the future.
We’re looking at potential new Metro stations and extensions, working with the Welsh Government and local authorities.
Why are you introducing different types of trains?
To develop our plans for the Wales and Borders rail service and the South Wales Metro, we needed to take account of a range of different customer requirements.
Most of the Wales and Borders network requires a trains suitable for long-distance services while the South Wales Metro requires trains best suited for shorter journeys.
How are you making sure that people have access to toilets on the South Wales Metro?
We’re committed to ensuring that our passengers have access to toilets on the South Wales Metro. We’re increasing the number of universal access toilets at our stations on the Metro network so that passengers will never be more than 20 minutes away from a toilet. With turn-up-and-go service frequency, passengers can hop on and off at their convenience.
All our new fleet of trains will be equipped with accessible toilets. On the Aberdare, Merthyr and Treherbert lines we’re creating a fast, frequent and modern Metro service that we can extend to new communities in future. This means we need to use tram-trains that can run on-street, but aren’t currently available with universal access toilets. We’re currently looking into potential options with manufacturers.