Metro - A guide for communities

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Metro is all about making it easier to travel, to get to work or school, to get to your hospital appointment or to get out and about in the evenings and weekends using public transport.

Metro will be the biggest upgrade to public transport in South East Wales for a generation. This integrated transport system of trains, tram-trains, buses, walking and cycling will provide a modern, seamless service that Wales can be proud of. 

With significant construction, engineering and infrastructure work to do, this guide explains the details of that work as well as our plans to keep our communities informed along the way.

Introducing Metro

Metro will revolutionise travel in South Wales. Whether you use it to travel to work or school, or to see friends and family, Metro will connect our communities and bring us all closer together.

For customers, it will mean more regular services with faster journey times, better value fares and greater accessibility. Plus, our trains and tram-trains will be greener and better for the environment. 

We’re already busy behind the scenes building the new, more comfortable trains and tram-trains that will provide our customers with a modern, effective, turn-up-and-go Metro service and you’ll start to see these in service by 2023. These trains and tramtrains will significantly increase our capacity as well as providing additional features such as level boarding, increased bicycle storage and air conditioning. 

As well as the customer benefits, Metro will help to unlock the huge economic potential of South Wales. It will help workers to be more mobile and ease the congestion on our roads. It will make us less dependent on cars and it will be more integrated with local buses, which means you won’t have to wait as long for a connecting service to get to where you need to be. 

Metro marks the beginning of an exciting journey for Wales – a journey that we want you to be a part of. 

Throughout this guide, we’ll tell you a bit more about our plans for the next few years and how we’ll live up to our commitments of being good neighbours.

Customer benefit: More regular services and faster journey times 
Customer benefit: Cheaper fares and greater accessibility
Economic Potential: Metro will help workers be more mobile
Environmental Benefit: Metro will help ease congestion on roads

Building Metro

Building the South Wales Metro is an ambitious, multi-million-pound project. Rail infrastructure improvement work will initially focus on the Core Valleys Lines and will be ongoing and intermittent between 2020 and 2023.

In the next few years we have a significant amount of construction, engineering, and infrastructure work to do to upgrade our rail network so that it’s ready for Metro. Initially, this will involve work to the Aberdare, Coryton, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhymney and Treherbert railway lines, known as the Core Valleys Lines (see map).

This work will be ongoing and intermittent between now and 2023 and is explained in the following pages. 
Together with our partners, we’ll be:

  • Installing overhead line equipment (OLE) to power our new electrically powered tram-trains
  • Electrifying over 170km of track
  • Installing state-of-the-art signalling
  • Building new stations in and around Cardiff
  • Modifying bridges, level crossings and signalling equipment
  • Cutting back overgrown vegetation alongside the existing railway
  • Constructing a new £100m depot and Metro control centre in Taff’s Well in Rhondda Cynon Taff

As well as faster, more frequent and better journeys for passengers, there will also be benefits for the communities who live alongside Metro.


Environmental Benefits

The current diesel-powered trains have been in service for over 50 years and are more expensive, less environmentally friendly, and less comfortable than electric alternatives. These diesel trains also cause greater pollution levels during operation and generate more noise. They’re also heavier than electric trains, which means they wear out the tracks more quickly resulting in more maintenance work. 

The brand-new electric tram-trains for Metro are quieter and produce far less CO2 than the existing trains. They’re also quieter for both those onboard the train and those living close to the railway. Plus, having a more reliable public transport service means that fewer people will have to use their cars, easing the strain on traffic in your area. 


City Centre improvements

We’re working with the UK Government, Welsh Government, Network Rail and Cardiff Council to develop and implement plans to enhance Cardiff Central Station. We’re also working on Cardiff’s new multi-modal transport interchange encompassing an improved Cardiff Central Station and brand-new Cardiff bus interchange as well as on-street bus stops, taxi, active travel provision and the Cardiff Bay link.


How we will continue to develop Metro

We’re working with Cardiff and the capital region to continue to upgrade and expand the South Wales Metro, whilst also continuing work on the transformation of the Core Valleys Lines. 

Looking ahead at the South Wales Metro there are a number of emerging priority projects we’re keen to take forward and research in more detail through business cases and scheme developments, in partnership with the region and local authorities. More information on how we’re developing Metro can be found at:

Work you can expect

With the work we’re undertaking, there will be some short-term disruptions including road closures, night-time engineering work and some changes to our rail services. Whilst we believe that these short-term inconveniences will be worth it in the long run, we want to be transparent with our communities about the type of work we’ll be doing so you know what to expect. 


Overhead line equipment 

The metal posts and wires needed to power the new-tram trains are known as overhead line equipment (OLE). These posts will be a little higher than the trains and connected by wires. These will be installed along the core valley lines ready to power our new tram trains. 

During the planning and design phase, we’ll reduce the impact of the OLE posts as much as possible, but with approximately 2,500 structures required for this project, some of these posts will end up being near to properties. As there are a number of factors to consider in terms of where we install OLE, we can’t consider individual requests for the placement of the posts. These factors include:

  • Bends and curves in the lines
  • Ground conditions
  • Safety factors for maintenance The steel posts will be mounted upon foundations spaced between 20 and 65 metres apart along the length of the track.

The steel posts will be mounted upon foundations spaced between 20 and 65 metres apart along the length of the track.


Vegetation management

Cutting back vegetation can be noisy, but it’s essential for the safety of our passengers and staff. When left unmanaged, vegetation can cause accidents and disruption by obstructing signals or blocking the railway in bad weather. 

We’ll be cutting vegetation up to nine metres away from the track or to our boundary fence, whichever is closest. This is a bit more than we’d normally cut as we’ll need more room to install additional OLE in the coming years. Once we’ve cut back the trees, bushes and vegetation, they’ll be maintained at this level to make sure our services continue to run safely and reliably. 

We’re working with Natural Resources Wales and ecologists to minimise the environmental impact of this work.



To install OLE, we need to undertake piling work to set the foundations in place. Piling can be a noisy job as it involves heavy machinery, but we’ll do our best to minimise the noise and disruption to people living and working nearby. 

Depending on ground conditions, an average pile takes between 20 and 60 minutes and is often completed as one job, so the noise should never last too long. 


Upgrading stations 

To enhance our customers’ travelling experiences, we’ll be undertaking work at our stations to improve cycling and walking links as well as installing CCTV and ticket machines. We’re also improving accessibility on our trains and will be installing fully accessible toilet facilities at various stations. Additionally, we’re proposing to build or relocate new stations. 

As we upgrade our stations, we’ll do our best to ensure they remain open, but there may be occasions when we have to run a replacement bus service or alter our timetables. 


Taff’s Well depot

We’re constructing a new £100m depot and Metro control centre in Taff’s Well in Rhondda Cynon Taff. As well as being home to our new tram-trains, our new depot will be a hub for:

  • 400 drivers and conductors
  • 35 maintenance staff
  • 52 Metro control centre staff 


Additional works

There’s also a whole host of other work we’re doing:

  • Platform extensions to suit the new longer trains and tram-trains
  • Work to renew or modify track and signalling ready for the new trains
  • Modifying road, rail and foot bridges
  • Upgrading or replacing level crossings

Working in our communities

In March 2020, we took over the ownership of the core valley lines from Network Rail. These railway lines are what connects the communities of Treherbert, Aberdare, Merthyr Tydfil, Coryton, Rhymney and Caerphilly to each other and the beating heart of Cardiff city centre. In doing so, we became neighbours with an estimated 50,000 households, all of whom live within 200m of our railway lines.

We’ll be working around the clock to build Metro, so you’ll also see our people working directly on the railway at night. This is because our work either on, or very close to our railway lines can only be undertaken safely when trains aren’t running.

Despite the disruption, we want to build positive and long-lasting relationships with individuals, businesses and organisations who are our neighbours.

As we develop Metro, we want to ensure we’re being good neighbours to our communities. That’s why we’ll be working with communities and local schools to:

  • Identify opportunities to develop their skills and experiences in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)
  • Increase awareness and access to employment in the rail sector
  • Identify biodiversity projects that will benefit communities
  • Provide educational opportunities on the importance of rail safety
  • Promote active travel schemes and help to mitigate the barriers to accessing transport

We will also provide regular meetings with stakeholders and community groups as well as keeping you updated via newsletters.

In numbers

  • 55,000 homes and businesses within 200m of the core valley lines
  • 56% The core valley lines carry 56% of all TfW passengers each day
  • 170km 170km of track and 56 stations make up the core valley lines

Engaging with our communities

We’re working with carefully selected contractors to deliver Metro and will be acting with the utmost care and sensitivity to each of our neighbours, as well as the environment.

Due to the scale of the work we’ll be doing, we believe that the way we engage with our neighbouring communities is crucial to delivering the project to the benefit of the local community and our customers, minimising any impact along the way.

Keeping you informed 

Whether it’s the temporary changes to the rail timetable, replacement buses, or the noisy engineering works required to modernise our railways, we’ll always do our best to keep you updated about scheduled work.

However, as we have over 170km of track to work across, we won’t always be able to write to everyone impacted by our work, every time. But we’ll do our best to keep you informed by updating our social media channels and website, and sending letters to update you on our progress.


Working with stakeholders 

Whilst we will be carrying out most of this work under our ‘Permitted Development’ rights, we are working closely with Local Authorities and other stakeholders to develop our plans and listen to their feedback.


Involving local groups 

We want to hear from the people living and working closest to our lines so they can make the most of the new improved services. From our lineside neighbours and schools to community centres and local councils, we’ll provide opportunities for different groups to get involved with the project as well as attend and host community meetings at key points in our delivery.


Responding to your feedback 

We want to be good neighbours so we’re keen to hear from you as your feedback will help us to improve what we do. We’ll provide free, accessible and bilingual ways for you to get in touch with us, and and provide responses to your concerns. 

Whether it’s the temporary changes to the rail timetable, replacement buses, or the noisy engineering works required to modernise our railways, we’ll always do our best to keep you updated about scheduled work, including via our work in your area page at:

Our commitments to you

We’re grateful for your patience while this important work is taking place, and we want to continue being honest, considerate and respectful to each other throughout this process. We appreciate that some of our work will be disruptive, which is why we have identified our key commitments to being good neighbours.

  1. We will do everything we can to work responsibly by ensuring our sites are well managed and that our people are considerate to our neighbours.
  2. We will work closely with local communities and businesses to explain what we’re doing and try to find ways to minimise disruption.
  3. We will keep you informed of our progress on delivering Metro and our ongoing work by sharing details on our website and sending letters at key milestones.
  4. We will endeavour to reduce noise by using acoustic baffling and silenced equipment wherever possible as well as ensuring that we place generators away from homes.
  5. We will use LED lighting to reduce light pollution and ensure lighting columns are directed away from homes.
  6. We will undertake relevant assessments at all sites so we understand what mitigations might be required including traffic assessments for HGV access and any potential road closures.
  7. We will carry out ecological surveys to identify any protected species or nesting birds in the area to minimise our impact on the natural environment. If any species are identified, appropriate methods of working will then be put into place.
  8. We will do our best to keep you informed of disruption to your local services, but please check before travelling as we’ll need to run replacement bus services at certain times.

Stay informed

The best way to keep up to date with the latest Metro developments is through our website at:

You can also follow us on social media for regular updates.

As well as posting progress updates on our news section, we will also publish details of any future planned works at the communities page:

For information on changes to services, rail and replacement buses please visit our rail website at:


Get in touch

If you have any concerns or queries, our team is on hand to listen and to answer any questions you may have.

A number of projects for the South Wales Metro have been part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.