Cardiff Orbital Railway.

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Gwenllian2001

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Yesterday’s announcement concerning the electrification of local services around Cardiff raises an interesting possibility for a new orbital service for the city. The Coryton and City Lines are included and therein lies the opportunity. At present these services operate as one with all City Line trains, from Radyr, running to Coryton before reversing to cover the same ground. For those not familiar with the area, the termini are, almost, within sight of one another and a new connection would complete the circular route.

Although the two and a half miles from Coryton to Heath Junction is currently single, the former double track formation remains and could be restored with minimal work. Such a scheme would enable a clockwise and anti clockwise orbital service to operate opening up many more journey opportunities, not least from the business park at Ty Glas to the north side of the city.

This scheme was first mooted in the Seventies but the climate for railways was very different then and nothing was done. Perhaps it’s time to look at it again.
 
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Ivo

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An interesting idea. I have four thoughts on the matter:

(1) The chances are that a reversal would be necessary at Radyr. The only alternative would be to loop right round the canal area up to the M4 and then join the existing Pontypridd route about half a mile north of Radyr. Whilst somewhat out-of-the-way, it would create potential for a new station close to Junction 32 (Tongwynlais would be my name of choice). However, by inserting the loop route and not the reversal route it would be more difficult to insert recovery time (a regular flaw of the Circle line before its conversion in 2009).

(2) In addition to the J32 idea, if the near-circle was subjected to this kind of revision it would give an opportunity to revise certain other aspects of the route, not just the single-track nature of the Coryton line. Perhaps a new station somewhere in the vicinity of Roath Park (close to Heath Hospital) would be in order? Caerphilly trains could skip this new station if need be. And whilst in the mood for new stations, what about one at Mynachdy on the other side of Heath Hospital (about 2km from Roath Park)?

(3) Passengers from the two northern radial routes (Caerphilly and Pontypridd) would no longer have to go to Queen Street to change train. Queen Street is not really fit for purpose (even if the fourth platform is reinstated) because its cirulating area is so small, so this would be a massive help.

(4) Sadly, it's not all good news. In short, is the near-circle really busy enough? As things stand, a two-car Pacer twice an hour is comfortably sufficient (although admittedly the transfer of passengers between Heath, which could be merged into one station, and Radyr would improve the value of the idea).

In short, if there is enough demand for passengers to avoid Queen Street for changing purposes, go for it - the space is certainly there. But if not, I can't see a strong enough case to justify it.
 

Greenback

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Ivo is correct about Radyr. Before it was removed way back in the 1930's I believe, the line never ran into Radyr in such a way as to facilitate a circular service. As with most valley lines, it's purpose was to assist in getting coal to the docks or other parts of the country.
 

Gwenllian2001

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Ivo is correct about Radyr. Before it was removed way back in the 1930's I believe, the line never ran into Radyr in such a way as to facilitate a circular service. As with most valley lines, it's purpose was to assist in getting coal to the docks or other parts of the country.

I never suggested that it did. A new, albeit short, stretch of line would be needed.
 

Greenback

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I never suggested that it did. A new, albeit short, stretch of line would be needed.

Neither did I mention that you did say anything! I was agreeing with Ivo and trying to provide more information for those that may not know the area as well as we do!
 

tbtc

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Given the tightly squeezed time slots through Queen Street you'd have to be *very* reliable on this circle, so need to have plenty of recovery time. But then, a lot of recovery time would spoil the whole point of a circular service.

For example, based on the current timetable you'd need around twenty minutes between arriving in Coryton and departing Radyr. Even allowing a few minutes to travel the mile and a half between the two stations, your train would be sat for fifteen minutes before moving on again. Would anyone put up with that?
 

anthony263

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I did read somewhere that a proposal was put forward to extend the Coryton - Radyr cityline services to Pontypridd where they would terminate in a new platform to allow the Merthyr Tydfil trains to be sped up by running non stop Pontypridd - Cardiff central reducing the overal journey time to just 45 minutes enabling the service to compete more effectively against the A470.

I believe the Merthyr Tydfil services would run via the cityline to avoid Cardiff Queen Street
 

Greenback

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I did read somewhere that a proposal was put forward to extend the Coryton - Radyr cityline services to Pontypridd where they would terminate in a new platform to allow the Merthyr Tydfil trains to be sped up by running non stop Pontypridd - Cardiff central reducing the overal journey time to just 45 minutes enabling the service to compete more effectively against the A470.

I believe the Merthyr Tydfil services would run via the cityline to avoid Cardiff Queen Street

This sounds like a good idea in theory, but I question running via the City Line as it seems to be quite slow whenever I've been on it!

Also, would the trains serve Queen St, which is a popular destination for many passengers?
 

anthony263

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This sounds like a good idea in theory, but I question running via the City Line as it seems to be quite slow whenever I've been on it!

Also, would the trains serve Queen St, which is a popular destination for many passengers?

Network rail were supposed to be doing speed increases on the cityline. It doesnt also help that there does tend to be a good bit of padding in the valley lines timetables.

Nothing to stop a a train from Merthyr coming into Cardiff central via the cityline and then forming a Treherbert service which would run via queen street.
 

Greenback

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Network rail were supposed to be doing speed increases on the cityline. It doesnt also help that there does tend to be a good bit of padding in the valley lines timetables.

I haven't been on it for a few months, but it didn;t seem any faster then - perhaps they haven't started, or finished the improvements yet!

Nothing to stop a a train from Merthyr coming into Cardiff central via the cityline and then forming a Treherbert service which would run via queen street.

Indeed, if that was the plan it would be great, I can't see the sense in terminating at Central after running down the City Line, it needs to get to Queen St! But if you want to go to Newport Road/Queen St it may not be any faster than catching a slower train from Pontypridd straight to Queen St if it goes via Canton and Central first.
 

Gwenllian2001

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I haven't been on it for a few months, but it didn;t seem any faster then - perhaps they haven't started, or finished the improvements yet! Indeed, if that was the plan it would be great, I can't see the sense in terminating at Central after running down the City Line, it needs to get to Queen St! But if you want to go to Newport Road/Queen St it may not be any faster than catching a slower train from Pontypridd straight to Queen St if it goes via Canton and Central first.

As far as I'm aware the improvements have not yet been carried out. A new short connecting line from somewhere above Radyr to Coryton, with a station around Tongwynlais, would also open up some interesting possibilities, especially if the Coryton - Heath Jc section were to be redoubled. A service from Pontypridd to Cardiff, calling at, say, Trefforest; Tongwynlais; Coryton and Ty Glas might work.
 

WelshBluebird

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This sounds like a good idea in theory, but I question running via the City Line as it seems to be quite slow whenever I've been on it!

In my experience, running via the city line is always theoretically faster. The reason that it is actually slower in real services is that you end up waiting outside central station as that is what is timetabled.

Nothing to stop a a train from Merthyr coming into Cardiff central via the cityline and then forming a Treherbert service which would run via queen street.

Following along these lines, the current timetable actually has some services from Treherbert running via the city line, and then coming into central to form the next service to Treherbert. Indeed, this timetabling is the reason to my above comment about city line services waiting outside central station.
 

Gwenllian2001

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In my experience, running via the city line is always faster. The reason that it is actually slower in real services is that you end up waiting outside central station as that is what is timetabled.



Following along these lines, the current timetable actually has some services from Treherbert running via the city line, and then coming into central to form the next service to Treherbert. Indeed, this timetabling is the reason to my above comment about city line services waiting outside central station.

I hope that the planned new through platform will help.
 

Ivo

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As far as I'm aware the improvements have not yet been carried out. A new short connecting line from somewhere above Radyr to Coryton, with a station around Tongwynlais, would also open up some interesting possibilities, especially if the Coryton - Heath Jc section were to be redoubled. A service from Pontypridd to Cardiff, calling at, say, Trefforest; Tongwynlais; Coryton and Ty Glas might work.

Surely it would make more sense in that case to have all Coryton trains continue to Pontypridd, calling at all stations (even if that is a touch excessive), thereby allowing Merthyr/Aberdare/Treherbert services to run fast between Pontypridd and Radyr/Cathays?
 

Greenback

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Surely it would make more sense in that case to have all Coryton trains continue to Pontypridd, calling at all stations (even if that is a touch excessive), thereby allowing Merthyr/Aberdare/Treherbert services to run fast between Pontypridd and Radyr/Cathays?

I think an all stations Cardiff - Pontypridd via Coryton would be far too slow! I'm talking about passengers from places like Taff's Well and Treforest.
 
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