TfW FOI Request - Various

Submitted by positiveUser on

Date issued: 4 November 2019

Thank you for your Freedom of Information (FOI) Act requests from 7 and 16 October 2019. You requested the following information:

  • Have several of the new stations been cancelled? (Treforest Estate & Gablafa previously confirmed but are now missing. Llanwern & Miskin also removed but no previous date set).
  • Ebbw Vale has been changed to its own Traction type of DEMU rather than DMU as show previously. Has there been a change to the infrastructure or traction units which has prompted this given Maesteg is still shown as DMU?
  • How will the current capacity be maintained or increased Given James Prices comments. In his letter he states the new trains help increase capacity for Major Events when in the meeting it was stated the Flirts will not be able to operate in a doubled up format when the platforms are not long enough and the number ordered only just covers the service?
  • Have the new trains for Cambrian Marches, North Wales been delayed by a year to 2022 as indicated on the new timeline?
  • Has the introduction of 4 trains an hour to the heads of the valleys been delayed by a year to 2023 as indicated on the new timeline?
  • Given 3 does this mean the new Tram/Trains have been delayed by a year to 2023 as indicated on the new timeline?
  • Will the new station at Cardiff by open 2024 or has this also been delayed to 2025+ as this has been removed from the latest timeline to 2025?
  • Do you have an estimate to when the class 769's may be out in service?
  • What length of exception have TFW applied for the use of the pacers beyond 2020?

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. We can confirm that we do hold the information you requested.

We have reviewed your unit capacity analysis and have compared it with our own, which is provided below in Annex 1.

It is pertinent to mention that the analysis you provided compares against each unit type if it was running in a 6-car formation, which is not currently the case. As such, you will see that we have produced our analysis using a 4-car formation as the basis for comparison.

We recognise that our analysis is based on figures provided in 2017. We intend to validate these figures with more recent and reliable passenger count data and modelling as it becomes available.

We are working on communications plans for the Metro project and welcome the feedback that you and others have provided so far. The Metro map was recently updated to reflect latest proposals and in response to feedback received regarding the clarity of the information shown.

We want to deliver what is best for our customers and stakeholders and as such, we continue to engage with these groups and our delivery partners – including local authorities – as our designs for the Metro develop and as new information emerges.

In response to some of your specific queries:

  • The original map showed infrastructure enhancements and future rolling stock to be delivered by 2023. It also showed new stations, including Gabalfa, Llanwern and Miskin. However, there is no commitment for these stations to be completed within the timeframe shown on the map and this was previously unclear. Planning for these three stations are at varying early stages of development but are not expected to be operational by 2023.
  • Treforest Estate station is a planned relocation rather than a ‘new stop’ and we received feedback that this was not clear, prompting our update.
  • The Ebbw Vale line was changed to reflect the Stadler Flirt units that we intend to use on the line, which are DEMUs. This is a clarification rather than a change as the earlier version of the map showed a green line (for DMU).
  • We are in discussions with Cardiff City Council regarding the delivery of Cardiff Bay station, pending the outcome of their Transport White Paper1.

Regarding rolling stock, we are not currently aware of any delays to the delivery of the new trains and as a result, none of the entry into service dates have changed. Four trains-per-hour are planned for the Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr lines during 2022, and on the Rhymney line from December 2023.

We continue to consult with industry partners over the length of exception for Pacer trains. We can provide more information once these discussions have concluded. Be assured that we are committed to removing Pacers as quickly as we can while recognising the need to provide capacity for our customers. We anticipate that the 769s will come into service in early 2020.

Our detailed plans for special events will emerge as we finalise our designs for the CVL transformation. TfW Rail Services has set up a dedicated team which will consider requirements and produce plans for service provision during special events.

We will continue to update our communications (including maps and website content) as required and when appropriate, and in line with our communications plans.

Yours sincerely

Transport for Wales

Annex 1: Capacity analysis

The following table shows a comparison for Rhymney to Cardiff Services in peak service times. These assume Class 769’s operate all services in the peak in December 2022.

Image: Figure 1 - Capacity Comparison Dec 19 - Dec 23

This highlights a reduction in total capacity between Rhymney/Bargoed and Caerphilly and a minimal increase Caerphilly – Cardiff both in the AM and PM peaks.

We see a significant decrease in capacity both total and seated on the Penarth line. This can be explained however by the fact that we currently provide surplus capacity on this route. This is because Penarth services are currently formed off services from Rhymney at Cardiff, which will run through as Class 769 units. Operations will change from December 2023 and Penarth services will be formed from Coryton services, operated with 3 car tri-modes. Although this is a reduction in capacity, this should be sufficient for passenger demand on this line.

Image: Figure 2 - Passenger Loadings Rhymney - Cardiff in AM Peak

In the AM peak we can see that, assuming bid forecast is accurate, in December 2022, passengers boarding stations north of and including Llanishen will have a seat. Passengers from Heath High Level would be standing with plenty of capacity. From December 2023, with the introduction of tri-mode units, passengers would have a seat from stations north of and including Caerphilly and would be standing at onward stations.

Image: Figure 3 - Passenger Loadings in PM Peak Cardiff - Rhymney

In the PM peak, the data suggests that in December 2022, Class 769 operation would provide enough seats for all passengers off Cardiff Queen St. From 2023, with tri-mode units, passengers will be standing between Cardiff Queen St. and Heath High Level.