Enhancements wishlist published
The Welsh Government released its Mainline railway enhancement requirements report on November 23, detailing where it believes investment is needed.
A priority is the overcrowded service between Bristol Temple Meads and Cardiff Central, which it likens to Manchester-Leeds. The Welsh Government says that while Bristol-Cardiff has two trains per hour, Manchester-Leeds has six.
It also highlights the lack of investment planned for the Welsh route compared with the planned £3 billion TransPennine Upgrade and £30bn Northern Powerhouse Rail schemes, stating that Network Rail’s estimated usage for BristolCardiff is expected to be similar to that of the northern route.
Slow journey times from WalesLondon and the 90mph speed limits on much of the South Wales
Main Line are also highlighted, as are the poorly served (by rail) areas in east Cardiff and Newport as well as the lack of a local commuter rail service for Swansea Bay.
There are calls for more trains from South Wales to Bristol and London, while new stations on the SWML could be served by a new local service the Welsh Government suggests (see separate story).
On the North Wales Main Line, slow speeds are again an issue, as are ageing signalling and modest frequencies affecting services to Manchester, Liverpool, South Wales and London. More services should integrate with the Northern Powerhouse plan, including trains to Leeds.
Bangor, the line’s busiest station, also needs to be better served, while there are concerns about the 2tph Crewe-Chester service owing to capacity and operational constraints at the latter.
Electrification is urged for the North Wales Main Line, while there is concern that integrating HS2 at Crewe could affect Welsh services. All-stop commuter services are suggested for Llandudno-Crewe/ Wrexham and Holyhead-Llandudno Junction.
The Borderlands line (WrexhamBidston) is underutilised, needs its 2tph doubled to 4tph, and must be able to offer a commuter service to Liverpool (not currently possible), given its close proximity to Merseyside.
In West Wales, it is thought that Carmathen could serve as a parkway station for the region, with faster services running between Cardiff-Milford Haven via the Swansea District Line.