What travellers in Wales can look forward to...
THERE are big changes on the railways in Wales this weekend, but passengers are not going to notice many differences to begin with.
Arriva Trains Wales will hand over the keys to the nation’s crumbling local commuters trains to Transport for Wales and new operator Keolis Amey.
It will bring down the curtain on nearly 15 years in which passenger numbers have rocketed, the nation’s rolling stock has got older and Arriva has reaped huge profits.
But there are only going to be a few changes at the start for passengers.
This is what to expect on Day One: ■■All existing tickets remain valid, including multiplex, which will be valid for the next three months.
■■A new customer website tfwrail.wales / trctrenau.cymru and app will be launched on Monday for all information and queries.
■■All Arriva Trains Wales staff will become TfW Rail Services staff, with new uniforms. (This is temporary, with plans to develop a new uniform in consultation with staff).
■■TfW branding will be at stations and start to appear on some trains as well as on information leaflets and posters. ■■Deep-cleaning of all stations begins.
The company has published what it calls a “railmap” of improvements that will take place between now and 2025.
It says it will include new and improved stations, better services, more carriages, new and completely rebuilt trains, better-value fares, pay-as-you-go travelcards, free wifi, improved accessibility for those with mobility problems at all stations, and new websites and apps to help passengers stay informed and buy tickets easily.
What does this mean for passengers in south east Wales?
■■From January 2019 instead of refunds for delays of 30 minutes or more, it will be for 15 minutes or more. ■■Electrification of 172 km of track to deliver the Central Metro and enable four trains per hour from the top of each Valley Line.
■■Station improvements at Abergavenny, Cardiff Central, Merthyr Tydfil and Chepstow. ■■Introduction of a new Ebbw Vale to Newport service with one train per hour from May 2021.
■■ Extra services from Cardiff to Cheltenham by 2023.
■■New station at Crwys Road, Cardiff, by 2023.
■■Extra services from Wrexham to Cardiff and Liverpool by 2023. ■■New station at Loudoun Square, Cardiff opens by 2024.
■■New Metro station opens at Cardiff Bay by 2024, bringing on-street tram operation back to the capital after more than 70 years.