South Wales 'Metro' updates

Cardiff123

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Mind you, every infrastructure project is really! :D

They're usually all late, bits missing as it's gone overbudget so they've had to remove some things to keep costs down!


Just out of interest, when is this project expected to be complete and how much overbudget is it? ;)
It's not over budget, but the plans have been changed since that map (which is from January 2019) to stay within the allocated budget. It's due to be completed between 2023-2024. The Taff Valley lines (through Pontypridd) will be completed first, with the tram-trains expected to be running on those lines by mid-2023, and the Rhymney Valley and Coryton lines are expected to be completed in 2024.
 
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221101 Voyager

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It's not over budget, but the plans have been changed since that map (which is from January 2019) to stay within the allocated budget. It's due to be completed between 2023-2024. The Taff Valley lines will be completed first, with the tram-trains expected to be running on those lines by mid-2023, and the Rhymney Valley and Coryton lines are expected to be completed in 2024.
Thanks, sounds good. Can't wait to have a go on them when they are finished!
 

Envoy

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It's not over budget, but the plans have been changed since that map (which is from January 2019) to stay within the allocated budget. It's due to be completed between 2023-2024. The Taff Valley lines (through Pontypridd) will be completed first, with the tram-trains expected to be running on those lines by mid-2023, and the Rhymney Valley and Coryton lines are expected to be completed in 2024.
I wonder what has been axed? If it is the proposed new route out from Fairwater to Cregiau to serve all the new housing such as Plasdwr, then it will render much of the Cardiff LDP a disaster.
 

Cardiff123

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I wonder what has been axed? If it is the proposed new route out from Fairwater to Cregiau to serve all the new housing such as Plasdwr, then it will render much of the Cardiff LDP a disaster.
That can't be axed because it's not in any definite, approved plans yet.
The only changes are more discontinuous electrification on the Taff Valley lines. But there may be more wiring on the Rhymney line, almost certainly to Bargoed and possibly all the way up to Rhymney, depending on how they choose to sort out the electricity power supply issues at Rhymney
 

Envoy

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That can't be axed because it's not in any definite, approved plans yet.
The only changes are more discontinuous electrification on the Taff Valley lines. But there may be more wiring on the Rhymney line, almost certainly to Bargoed and possibly all the way up to Rhymney, depending on how they choose to sort out the electricity power supply issues at Rhymney
Many thanks for your swift response. I just hope that the planners are leaving a viable route through these new housing areas - as was originally set out by mainly preserving the alignment of the former freight line with amendments in the J33 area.
 

Tomos y Tanc

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Many thanks for your swift response. I just hope that the planners are leaving a viable route through these new housing areas - as was originally set out by mainly preserving the alignment of the former freight line with amendments in the J33 area.
The transport corridor is being preserved through the new developments so that at least is something. Unfortunately, little thought seems to have been given in the masterplan to locating schools, shops etc on sites ajacent to the proposed metro line.

The Masterplan can be seen here. There are two possible Metro rountes included in it; the current disused rail formation described as the 'safeguarded alternative tram train alignment' and another decribed as 'main street with provision for future tram-train'.

It's obvious that the 'main street' option is the developer's preference since it would serve the development better but that would be at the expense of increased journey times.
 
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Envoy

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The transport corridor is being preserved through the new developments so that at least is something. Unfortunately, little thought seems to have been given in the masterplan to locating schools, shops etc on sites ajacent to the proposed metro line.

The Masterplan can be seen here. There are two possible Metro rountes included in it; the current disused rail formation described as the 'safeguarded alternative tram train alignment' and another decribed as 'main street with provision for future tram-train'.

It's obvious that the 'main street' option is the developer's preference since it would serve the development better but that would be at the expense of increased journey times.
I agree with your statement. If they have a new metro route meandering around these new developments on street, not only will it increase journey times for those from further out but it will surely also screw up the schedules of the entire network. Right now, the trains normally run to the minute because they are on a dedicated rail network. Any wandering around streets is surely going to prevent this as can be seen with the buses? The ones that will suffer the most, should this happen, will be the upper valleys where it will be vital that services run to the minute in order to pass at the passing loops.

Your statement regarding little thought being given on the masterplan (Plasdwr) to the location of shops/local centres being by the metro line is also spot on. However, much of the land by the former rail route in the Plasdwr section is marshy or wooded with the housing being mainly on the higher ground. Furthermore, I think it would be difficult for these tram-trains to deviate far from the old railway (Fairwater to Cregiau) as the slopes are very steep.
 
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Robertj21a

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I agree with your statement. If they have a new metro route meandering around these new developments on street, not only will it increase journey times for those from further out but it will surely also screw up the schedules of the entire network. Right now, the trains normally run to the minute because they are on a dedicated rail network. Any wandering around streets is surely going to prevent this as can be seen with the buses? The ones that will suffer the most, should this happen, will be the upper valleys where it will be vital that services run to the minute in order to pass at the passing loops.

Your statement regarding little thought being given on the masterplan (Plasdwr) to the location of shops/local centres being by the metro line is also spot on. Furthermore, I think it would be difficult for these tram-trains to deviate far from the old railway (Fairwater to Cregiau) as the slopes are very steep.
Sheffield trams cope well with some pretty steep hills.
 

Envoy

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Sheffield trams cope well with some pretty steep hills.
The Class 398 tram-trains for the core valley lines look rather more train like than tram like - so not sure what they would be like with steep hills.
 

edwin_m

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The Class 398 tram-trains for the core valley lines look rather more train like than tram like - so not sure what they would be like with steep hills.
I can't immediately find data for a 398 but the Rotherham tram-train (399) has three motored bogies out of four. This would make it better on hills than something like a Metrolink tram (2 out of 3, infrastructure ruling gradient 6% I think) but not as good as the original Supertrams (4 out of 4, 10%).
 

Envoy

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I have walked much of the old railway through what is now known as Plasdwr. Here are 3 of my photos to give you some idea of the terrain.

1 shows the old trackbed (single line). 2 shows a view to the north and 3 a view to the south.
 

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anthony263

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Not sure if anyone has seen this yet. This was uploaded onto Facebook earlier.

Tfw upgrading canton depot so units being stabled overnight elsewhere including Heath low level , penarth and barry island
 

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the sniper

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I know it is what it is at this point, but every time I come back to look at this project I can't help but feel that the tramification of the core Valley lines is going to be rued over the decades following its implementation. The Valley lines had the makings of a perfect S Bahn like system with Class 777 like units. For the sake of relatively small street running elements, throwing in all the variables those bring and vehicle/unit/formation compromises required, just to save a bit of walking to near by stations, seems like a largely worthless complication/expense.
 

Brissle Girl

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I know it is what it is at this point, but every time I come back to look at this project I can't help but feel that the tramification of the core Valley lines is going to be rued over the decades following its implementation. The Valley lines had the makings of a perfect S Bahn like system with Class 777 like units. For the sake of relatively small street running elements, throwing in all the variables those bring and vehicle/unit/formation compromises required, just to save a bit of walking to near by stations, seems like a largely worthless complication/expense.
We’ve had that debate on numerous occasions in the years since the announcement, and there are strongly held views on both sides. So probably better to accept that it is what it is now.
 

Envoy

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Absolutely. What's the rationale for not electrifying to Penarth and Barry? And will they really curtail the through Valley-Barry Island services - which can still get really busy in the summer?
They have no choice but to curtail the through Taff (& tributaries) valley to Coast services because the tram-trains that they have ordered will surely not be able to go that far on battery power. It would also be a very long run from say Merthyr or Treherbert to Barry without a toilet. People will have to gamble on ‘busting’ or getting off at say Pontypridd or Cardiff Central and using the toilets and then getting a later service.

The Stadler Flirts that will be used on the Rhymney Valley to coast route will of course provide a through service (with toilets) BUT - they will have to fire up their diesel engine to get from Central to the coast or perhaps use the battery as far as maybe Grangetown to avoid city centre pollution. (I am not sure how far they will be able to go on battery power).

Network Rail ‘own’ the tracks from Central to the Coast so it would be up to them to electrify the Penarth & Barry routes. It is just a great pity that Network Rail can’t deliver projects on time and to budget as witnessed by the GWML debacle.
 

Cardiff123

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Absolutely. What's the rationale for not electrifying to Penarth and Barry? And will they really curtail the through Valley-Barry Island services - which can still get really busy in the summer?
As Envoy has said, the lines from Cardiff to Barry, Penarth and Bridgend via the Vale were not devolved to Welsh Govt as the Valley lines from Cardiff north to the Valleys were. So Welsh Govt are electrifying and upgrading what they have control of. Welsh Govt have been pushing for years to have all of the rail infrastructure in Wales fully devolved, but yet again just last week in the Commons Grant Shapps gave a very pointed 'you must be joking' answer. Do you think UK Govt are interested in electrifying the lines to Barry Island, Penarth and Bridgend via the Vale? :lol: :rolleyes:

Passengers coming down from Rhymney/Bargoed (and pre-Covid from Treherbert), already have to change in Cardiff to get down to Barry Island. So seeing as Barry Island services will be working to & from Rhymney in the new timetable, all that will be happening is a different set of Valleys passengers will need to change in Cardiff for Barry Island.
 
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WesternBiker

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As Envoy has said, the lines from Cardiff to Barry, Penarth and Bridgend via the Vale were not devolved to Welsh Govt as the Valley lines from Cardiff north to the Valleys were. So Welsh Govt are electrifying and upgrading what they have control of. Welsh Govt have been pushing for years to have all of the rail infrastructure in Wales fully devolved, but yet again just last week in the Commons Grant Shapps gave a very pointed 'you must be joking' answer. Do you think UK Govt are interested in electrifying the lines to Barry Island, Penarth and Bridgend via the Vale? :lol: :rolleyes:
I know it might be naive, but one might have thought a little bit of join up between Network Rail and the Welsh Assembly might see the modest mileage to Barry Island and Penarth electrified? I can't imagine that happening in any other European country...

And I do not the envy the cleaners working on the Valley Lines after a Friday and Saturday might out, with no toilets on the tram-trains. Do Assembly members - or their staff - never use the trains themselves on a weekend??
 

Cardiff123

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I know it might be naive, but one might have thought a little bit of join up between Network Rail and the Welsh Assembly might see the modest mileage to Barry Island and Penarth electrified? I can't imagine that happening in any other European country...

And I do not the envy the cleaners working on the Valley Lines after a Friday and Saturday might out, with no toilets on the tram-trains. Do Assembly members - or their staff - never use the trains themselves on a weekend??
Unfortunately, there's no such thing as 'join up' between the Welsh and UK Govts, and since Boris Johnson became PM, it's been open hostility by Westminster towards Cardiff Bay. The only time that there's ever 'join up' between Network Rail and Welsh Govt, is if Welsh Govt is paying for whatever it wants NR to do, as we've seen with the Ebbw Vale line, which UK Govt has refused to fund. This includes the initial 2008 Ebbw Vale line re-opening, and the double track improvements that Welsh Govt have been trying to progress in recent years.

When Welsh Govt does fund NR improvement projects in Wales, the money has to be diverted from other devolved budgets such as health & education, as Welsh Govt gets no Barnett formula funding from Westminster to spend on the Welsh rail network, as Scotland and NI do.

(The Welsh Assembly is also now officially the Welsh Parliament, or more commonly known by it's Welsh name, the Senedd)
 
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Brissle Girl

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These subjects (especially toilets) have been discussed repeatedly. Can we try not to go over the same ground yet again. It’s now a few years since these decisions were made and set in stone.
 

Envoy

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I know it might be naive, but one might have thought a little bit of join up between Network Rail and the Welsh Assembly might see the modest mileage to Barry Island and Penarth electrified? I can't imagine that happening in any other European country...
Network Rail won’t even wire the relatively short distance between just N of Queen Street Station through Central to Ninian Park. Platform 4 (mainline) has been wired but the boom does not even reach across to the neighbouring valley line P6 at Central.
 

Dr Day

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Is it really a case of 'Network Rail won't' or more of a case of 'DfT couldn't justify the expenditure to the taxpayer when it last studied it several years ago as it didn't appear to offer great value for money'?

We are now in a different world, but (without getting into debates on devolution) presumably the case for electrification south/west of Cardiff can be looked at in the current context by the relevant parties to see if it stacks up or not?
 

59CosG95

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Network Rail won’t even wire the relatively short distance between just N of Queen Street Station through Central to Ninian Park. Platform 4 (mainline) has been wired but the boom does not even reach across to the neighbouring valley line P6 at Central.
I'm sure that, if required, the booms could simply be 'un-hooked' and replaced by a slightly longer model during a blockade. Or, in the case of this structure, the circled stovepipe could be lowered to provide an attachment point for a cantilever.2021-05-25_09-31-26.jpg
That said, the other booms over P4 would need replacing to allow for extensions - this one appears to be the exception.
 
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Tomos y Tanc

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Is it really a case of 'Network Rail won't' or more of a case of 'DfT couldn't justify the expenditure to the taxpayer when it last studied it several years ago as it didn't appear to offer great value for money'?

We are now in a different world, but (without getting into debates on devolution) presumably the case for electrification south/west of Cardiff can be looked at in the current context by the relevant parties to see if it stacks up or not?
It certainly should be looked at again particularly since the teams Amey will be emplying on the core valley lines could be redployed to other lines when the current prgramme is completed in a few years time.

Ideally, the work being carried out at the moment could become phase one of a rolling programme. The difficulty is of course is that TfW has a whole fleet of DMUs on order, bought on the assumption that electrification wouldn't happen.
 

UKRailfan_22

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Is it really a case of 'Network Rail won't' or more of a case of 'DfT couldn't justify the expenditure to the taxpayer when it last studied it several years ago as it didn't appear to offer great value for money'?

We are now in a different world, but (without getting into debates on devolution) presumably the case for electrification south/west of Cardiff can be looked at in the current context by the relevant parties to see if it stacks up or not?
I can't see why they couldn't justify it though, if these lines were electrified GWR could have ordered electric only units and could have done away with deisel altogether on this route, and considering the hitachi depot is based in Swansea it seems a bit stupid trains leaving the depot on electric then switching to diesel when they hit the mainline until Cardiff then back to electric.

It certainly should be looked at again particularly since the teams Amey will be emplying on the core valley lines could be redployed to other lines when the current prgramme is completed in a few years time.

Ideally, the work being carried out at the moment could become phase one of a rolling programme. The difficulty is of course is that TfW has a whole fleet of DMUs on order, bought on the assumption that electrification wouldn't happen.
Completely agree it ahould definitely be revisited now, but has this section of the line been passed to welsh government or is it still under network rail and dft? Because I'm sure welsh gov and amey would have a fight on there hands trying to get dft to agree to it.
 

Envoy

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I can't see why they couldn't justify it though, if these lines were electrified GWR could have ordered electric only units and could have done away with deisel altogether on this route, and considering the hitachi depot is based in Swansea it seems a bit stupid trains leaving the depot on electric then switching to diesel when they hit the mainline until Cardiff then back to electric.


Completely agree it ahould definitely be revisited now, but has this section of the line been passed to welsh government or is it still under network rail and dft? Because I'm sure welsh gov and amey would have a fight on there hands trying to get dft to agree to it.
The Hitachi depot in Swansea did have catenery put up (minus the wires I think) but it was removed when electrification through to Swansea was cancelled.

The UK government had ordered about 50%? of the Class 800 fleet to be electric only but with one coach having a diesel engine for emergency use. It was Network Rail failing to deliver on time and to budget that then forced the UK government to pay more money to Hitcahi to make the whole fleet bi-mode. This of course means increased maintenance costs.

This failure to deliver on time & to budget by Network Rail then led to the UK government having to curtail the mainline electrification between Cardiff & Swansea. Had that happened, it would have meant that we could have had an electric stopping service on the mainline - possible running between Swansea & Bristol Temple Meads/Bath. Throw in the relatively short Bridgend to Maesteg line being wired along with the line to Ebbw Vale & we could have seen yet another all electric service serving the south Wales Metro area. The Glamorgan Coast Line via Llantwit Major & Barry might also have been wired as this is used as a diversionary route for the London trains.

I am not sure if having Swansea to Newport wired along with the Crewe to Manchester line already being electrified would have led to a bi-mode order for trains that use The Marches route. As this stand, we have a large order for the Class 197 diesel trains from CAF to serve most of the long distance TfW routes.
 

Tomos y Tanc

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Completely agree it ahould definitely be revisited now, but has this section of the line been passed to welsh government or is it still under network rail and dft? Because I'm sure welsh gov and amey would have a fight on there hands trying to get dft to agree to it.
I wasn't suggesting any further asset transfers. Those are for the birds in the current political climate.

I was pointing out that there would be experienced locally based contractors on hand in a few years time if there was work for them to do. One of the reasons electrification is so expensive in the UK is the stop/start nature of it. I'm just suggesting that what TfW has started DfT could finish using the same pool of slilled labour.
 

anthony263

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Noticed Saturday the southern end of the northbound platform at taffs well had been demised and construction of the northern extension of the platform was underway.

Sadly due to my daughter having been in hostel previous night and me then having to rush home to take her again I missed the majority of the work going on
 

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