South Wales 'Metro' updates

Envoy

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Latest updated plans for the Waungron Park Interchange (in west Cardiff) have now been released. If interested, click the Media Wales link that follows which includes a link to the Planning Application (21/01359). Note that they intend to build a block of flats for social housing on part of the site. So, we are reduced to 50mph on the M4 at Newport (when not jammed) and the A470 near Pontypridd to reduce air pollution, yet it is OK to build a block of flats for poor people on a highly polluted junction in Cardiff. They are even going to build a roof garden so they can breathe in the rising fumes.
 
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Phil from Mon

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Nation.cymru is reporting that plans for Cardiff Crossrail are well advanced.
New details have been revealed about major upgrades to public transport in northwest Cardiff including new train stations, express bus services and potential tram routes.

A major report published this week looks at short and long term ways public transport can be improved, including the Cardiff Crossrail tram-train route, as rising congestion is feared.

The transport corridor from northwest Cardiff to the city centre is expected to see a huge rise in demand, both on public transport and the road network, as thousands of houses are built.

By 2025, train stations could be built at the Mill housing development in Ely and at Junction 34 of the M4; as well as express bus routes introduced from the city centre to Plasdŵr, Talbot Green and a new park-and-ride at Junction 33; and more frequent train services.

The second phase, between 2025 and 2030, could see the Crossrail tram-train route built from the city centre to Junction 33, Creigiau, and then ending at either Pontyclun or Beddau. This would likely link up with the existing City Line railway just north of Fairwater station.

Transport consultants Mott MacDonald, commissioned by the Welsh Government, Cardiff council, Rhondda Cynon Taf council, and Transport for Wales, wrote the 156-page WelTAG stage one report on the northwest corridor exploring potential options.
Vote
Cardiff council’s cabinet will hear the report on Thursday, June 17, and likely vote to move on to the next stage: preparing an outline business case for the major public transport upgrades. Rhondda Cynon Taf council’s cabinet will also consider the report next Thursday.

Massively upgraded public transport is needed to cater for the thousands of houses planned for Plasdŵr in northwest Cardiff, as well as huge housing developments north of Junction 33, south of Creigiau, and Cwm Colliery and Coking Works, and at Mwyndy and Talbot Green.

The Crossrail route will likely run along the disused Llantrisant branch line, which runs from Fairwater through the northwest of Cardiff, including through Plasdŵr. New platforms could be built for the tram south of Cardiff Central train station, potentially at Callaghan Square.

One option would see the tram run along Penarth Road and Sloper Road by Cardiff City Stadium, before linking up to the existing railway by Ninian Park station. Crossrail would also link down to the Bay at Porth Teigr, then extend on to Splott and Tremorfa.

Train services would become more frequent on the City Line, from Cardiff Central to Radyr, where the Ely Mill station would be built. Trains would also become more frequent on the South Wales Main Line, where the new Junction 34 station would be built by Miskin.

The next step, WelTAG stage two, would see consultants draw up an outline business case for the upgrades with much more details. The third stage would then see a full business case drawn up.
The plans include new stations for Ely Mill on the City line! and for M4 Junction 34 on the main line by 2025, plus express bus routes (including to Plasdwr) and more frequent train services. Phase 2, 2025-2030, includes tram-trains to Creigiau and then on to Pontyclun or Beddau. The report is being considered by councils next week.
 
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Envoy

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Nation.cymru is reporting that plans for Cardiff Crossrail are well advanced.

The plans include new stations for Ely Mill on the City line! and for M4 Junction 34 on the main line by 2025, plus express bus routes (including to Plasdwr) and more frequent train services. Phase 2, 2025-2030, includes tram-trains to Creigiau and then on to Pontyclun or Beddau. The report is being considered by councils next week.

This is more or less confirming what we already know and it is good to hear that the interested powers are getting together to discuss this part of The Metro. The Waungron Interchange mentions that it would be used by buses to/from Plasdwr and other developments in NW Cardiff. However, using buses to get people to/from such developments is deeply flawed by the fact that they cannot create bus lanes on many of the roads through congested Fairwater and certainly, trying to use direct buses to the city centre would encounter the major bottle neck on the narrow A4119 through Llandaff and on down via Penhill & Cathedral Road. The only viable solution to serving Plasdwr and the other developments out to Cregiau is to re-build the old rail route - with some alterations such as possibly using the St.Yr Nyll underpass under the M4 (behind Llanilltern Church). I would also like to see a way of allowing traffic to get on/off the M4 at a modified J33 in order to try and prevent the traffic from the new residences having to go on journeys via the present road network. This would remove a lot of traffic from Groes Faen, St. Fagans, Radyr, Llandaff and Fairwater. In the meantime, the best place for people from the new NW suburbs to switch form buses to trains on The City Line is Danescourt.

The Nation Cymru report contains the following statement:>
"One option would see the tram run along Penarth Road and Sloper Road by Cardiff City Stadium, before linking up to the existing railway by Ninian Park station. Crossrail would also link down to the Bay at Porth Teigr, then extend on to Splott and Tremorfa".
In my opinion, this would be a disaster as by going onto congested road routes would simply screw up the timings for the whole network in the central valleys. My understanding is that parts of the upper valleys will still be single track and it is here where the tram-trains will be less frequent. It is therefore vital that they keep to time in order to pass at the passing loops. The fact that Crossrail is on the Cregiau line and that it does not matter if they go wandering off the direct route to Central via Sloper Road is wrong. It does matter as they will be on the City Line which will be used to/from the central valleys. Clearly this suggestion might be to ‘dodge’ the section of Network Rail tracks between Ninian Park and Central. Most people will want to go to Central or Queen Street direct & that route already exists. I also have doubts about street running in the Bay area.

The Waungron Interchange is a waste of money. People can already transfer between trains and buses at nearby bus stops. To expect buses on routes via Ely to divert into this place will cause increased congestion and annoyance to passengers for time wasting. These buses should stay on the direct Cowbridge Road route. If they want to change to the trains on the Metro line, they could do it at Ely Mill/Victoria Park station by using a new bridge over the main line. If they are going to demolish the post building, then that land could be used for such buses to pull in when westbound thus making that more of an interchange. (This place is also on the 1/2 City Circle route). The Waungron site should be a car park for Metro passengers. Yes, I know you do not want to encourage car transport but for people not within walking distance, better that than they use cars for longer journeys. I note in the Waungron plans that they have been counting the number of spare parking places in nearby streets. This implies that they clearly expect people to dump their cars outside nearby residences in order to use the Metro. So, the old refuse site should be a car park in order to reduce the likelihood of this happening. The idea of building blocks of flats for Social housing at Waungron & the Cowbridge Road postal depot should also be dropped. These are dreadful locations to create dwellings with noise and pollution. You can’t put 50mph speed limits on the M4 & A470 to reduce pollution and then go and build new flats in polluted places!
 

Tomos y Tanc

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Envoy

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I see that the Vale of Glamorgan Council have now given permission for a business park on farmland between Cardiff Airport and the railway. Surely, if this land is developed, it blocks any potential rail route into the airport from the Vale Coast Railway? The way I see it is that to get a railway into the airport, it would have to come off the present line east of Portkerry viaduct - preferably at the highest point, and then follow the contours around to the airport. Ideally, it would then proceed back onto the Coast line west of the viaduct by curving around the airfield - possibly using what is now the road with a new road being built as a diversion. See image below.

So, does this mean that the powers that be have given up any desire to have The Metro eventually linking directly into Cardiff Airport? Are they intending to build a new airport terminal on the south side which would mean that the railway could be left as it is and incorporate an airport station? (Space is limited on the south side and the present car parks are all on the north side by the present terminal. The nearby cliffs are also slowly eroding).

This must be bad news for the airport as the business park will increase the amount of traffic on the already overcrowded road network. Culverhouse Cross intersection on the west side of Cardiff as well as M4 J33 regularly clog up. The Welsh Government in conjunction with Cardiff Council plan another business park on the north side of M4 J33 when this junction really needs a flyover. Recently, the Welsh Government turned down the idea of building a new road from M4 J34 at Miskin southwards towards the airport along with a Dinas Powis by-pass. So, they don’t want to build roads and now they are going to block a potential rail route into the airport. Perhaps they want the airport to close?

 

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tiptoptaff

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I think the rail route to the airport was always more of a pipe dream than anything. I'm not a fan of the light rail concept for the valleys at all, but I think that this would have been the easiest way to achieve rail to the airport, especially with the landscape being as it is.

But this rather does seem to end it completely. I can't say it's a great loss. The majority of Cardiff's (air) traffic is families on holidays. These tend to find trains as being inconvenient for travel to/from an airport at the best of times. Flight times to some of the more popular destinations would mean you'd want a 24hr service and I don't think that's sustainable, unless Cardiff really saw a surge in flights. But Bristol is a cheaper airport for airlines, Cardiff has always suffered from being relatively expensive
 

Dai Corner

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I think the rail route to the airport was always more of a pipe dream than anything. I'm not a fan of the light rail concept for the valleys at all, but I think that this would have been the easiest way to achieve rail to the airport, especially with the landscape being as it is.

But this rather does seem to end it completely. I can't say it's a great loss. The majority of Cardiff's (air) traffic is families on holidays. These tend to find trains as being inconvenient for travel to/from an airport at the best of times. Flight times to some of the more popular destinations would mean you'd want a 24hr service and I don't think that's sustainable, unless Cardiff really saw a surge in flights. But Bristol is a cheaper airport for airlines, Cardiff has always suffered from being relatively expensive
I have to agree. I don't think the shuttle bus to the station or the T9 to Cardiff city centre were ever busy.

What the planning decision does highlight is the fragmentation of Welsh Government with one authority having no regard for another's aspiration/ pipe dream.
 

tiptoptaff

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I have to agree. I don't think the shuttle bus to the station or the T9 to Cardiff city centre were ever busy.

What the planning decision does highlight is the fragmentation of Welsh Government with one authority having no regard for another's aspiration/ pipe dream.
TfW is supposed to be an overarching transport body, but it can't work well between Rail and Buses, as Metro is all they care about at all costs.

Hardly a surprise they couldn't make representation about this to the planning committees.
 

Envoy

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TfW is supposed to be an overarching transport body, but it can't work well between Rail and Buses, as Metro is all they care about at all costs.

Hardly a surprise they couldn't make representation about this to the planning committees.
But surely, TfW & Cardiff Airport are all owned by the Welsh Government and it was a Welsh Government Planning Inspector who approved that land for a business park. The local Council (Vale of Glamorgan) must surely also be in contact with the Welsh Government and both are run by the Labour Party. They can't be that stupid can they - to block any potential rail route into their own airport?
 

Caaardiff

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It would also make sense to find a way to build a nearby station, not just for the Airport for employees of the new business park to get to work.
 

Dai Corner

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It would also make sense to find a way to build a nearby station, not just for the Airport for employees of the new business park to get to work.


The Airport wrote to VoG Planning Department. Link to their letter

We note that LDP Policy MG10 requires the provision of sustainable transport infrastructure and the supporting text (para 6.57(d)) clarifies that for the Cardiff Airport Gateway Development Zone requirements will include, “Sustainable transport infrastructure including consideration of a route for a potential rail link to Cardiff Airport across the site to ensure the development does not compromise future proposals to enhance sustainable access to the airport.” We note that the application submission remains silent on this and the Indicative Concept Masterplan does not appear to make any provision for a dedicated rail link. Consideration of a route for a potential rail link clearly has not been given.
Our client accepts that delivery of the rail link could not be justified by the business park development alone. However, the Masterplan should respect the future prospect of achieving this link and safeguard the principle of



an appropriate route through the site which could be referred to in an enforceable planning condition and ultimately delivered through any reserved matters application(s). Failure to safeguard this now will mean the potential to achieve such a link will be lost forever.
 

cjp4

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The plan has a safeguarded corridor in the south east corner along Porthkerry Road.

TFW responded (planning application reference 2019/00871/OUT - Vale of Glamorgan Council). It's a surprising alignment and looks to have been included.
 

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Meerkat

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The plan has a safeguarded corridor in the south east corner along Porthkerry Road.

TFW responded (planning application reference 2019/00871/OUT - Vale of Glamorgan Council). It's a surprising alignment and looks to have been included.
I assume that’s for some sort of Luton airport style effort?
 

Envoy

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The plan has a safeguarded corridor in the south east corner along Porthkerry Road.

TFW responded (planning application reference 2019/00871/OUT - Vale of Glamorgan Council). It's a surprising alignment and looks to have been included.
Well, at least that is something although no mention of what kind of shuttle. I think it is in 2023 that TfW hope to have 2 trains per hour on the Vale Coast Line and that these will be Stadler Flirts. Let us not forget that this line is the shortest and quickest way from Barry to Bridgend and points west as it cuts out going into Cardiff.

It certainly would make the Airport more attractive to have the increased train service and then hopefully a link into the terminal instead of the bus link from Rhoose station.
 

Tomos y Tanc

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Well, at least that is something although no mention of what kind of shuttle. I think it is in 2023 that TfW hope to have 2 trains per hour on the Vale Coast Line and that these will be Stadler Flirts. Let us not forget that this line is the shortest and quickest way from Barry to Bridgend and points west as it cuts out going into Cardiff.

It certainly would make the Airport more attractive to have the increased train service and then hopefully a link into the terminal instead of the bus link from Rhoose station.
It's a difficult one.

Given the (pre-Covid) passenger numbers at Rhoose, it's very difficult to see how a Luton-style link would be justified while any major expansion of airports runs up against the UK and Welsh Governments commitments on climate-change.

Both Bristol and Leeds-Bradford airports are finding it very heavy weather trying to expand at the moment and one suspects the anti-aviation lobby is only likely to get stronger in years to come.
 

Robertj21a

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It's a difficult one.

Given the (pre-Covid) passenger numbers at Rhoose, it's very difficult to see how a Luton-style link would be justified while any major expansion of airports runs up against the UK and Welsh Governments commitments on climate-change.

Both Bristol and Leeds-Bradford airports are finding it very heavy weather trying to expand at the moment and one suspects the anti-aviation lobby is only likely to get stronger in years to come.
Quite. I'm not at all convinced that Cardiff airport can generate sufficient volumes to make further significant investment easy, or justified.
 

Dai Corner

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Quite. I'm not at all convinced that Cardiff airport can generate sufficient volumes to make further significant investment easy, or justified.
Especially now it's the responsibility of the Minister for Climate Change rather than the Minister for the Economy and Transport.
 

WesternBiker

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Well, at least that is something although no mention of what kind of shuttle. I think it is in 2023 that TfW hope to have 2 trains per hour on the Vale Coast Line and that these will be Stadler Flirts. Let us not forget that this line is the shortest and quickest way from Barry to Bridgend and points west as it cuts out going into Cardiff.

It certainly would make the Airport more attractive to have the increased train service and then hopefully a link into the terminal instead of the bus link from Rhoose station.

There's reference to the 'station-airport shuttle' in the airport's very glossy Masterplan 2040 (published in 2019 - link here). That has a map that refers to a possible 'improved public transport link to the station' (which follows the route in the VoG planning proposal). There is also a reference to the potential rail route with a reference to the local development plan (located on the rail line in Porthkerry Park - presumably adjacent to the viaduct), plus a diagram of the airport terminal with the location for a potential rail link.

As ever with these sorts of documents, it's all very light on detail, heavy on design, and couched in vague, conditional and aspirational language. Obviously, everything is dependent on demand - on which topic, interestingly, there is not a word about climate change...
 

Caaardiff

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It's a difficult one.

Given the (pre-Covid) passenger numbers at Rhoose, it's very difficult to see how a Luton-style link would be justified while any major expansion of airports runs up against the UK and Welsh Governments commitments on climate-change.

Both Bristol and Leeds-Bradford airports are finding it very heavy weather trying to expand at the moment and one suspects the anti-aviation lobby is only likely to get stronger in years to come.
The difference there is CWL's current terminal doesn't need expanding, whereas Leeds and Bristol are both at capacity and continuing to grow. In the short term Cardiff Airport can manage with the facilities it's got. It's unlikely to reach more than 3m passengers per year within the next 10 years.
The argument they could also use is improved rail access will deter some people from taking the car.
 

Brissle Girl

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Having a decent rail link could offer a competitive advantage over Bristol, which only has a bus connection. Though whether it would be enough to shift the balance between the two airports is debatable.
 

Markdvdman

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Air travel is environmentally terrible to be honest. We need super HSTs that kill it for price. The problem is look at Eurostar hardly cheap. The environment is frightening and we need to sort sooner rather than later!
 

Envoy

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Air travel is environmentally terrible to be honest. We need super HSTs that kill it for price. The problem is look at Eurostar hardly cheap. The environment is frightening and we need to sort sooner rather than later!
Air travel is environmentally terrible and I see that the French Government have virtually banned most internal air travel. However, as Britain is an island, to travel by high speed trains into Europe firstly involves getting to the Channel Tunnel. From a place like Cardiff, it really is a no goer to use trains to reach the European mainland let alone Mediterranean islands or places outside of Europe. From London, I would say that train travel into Europe is a much more viable option.

When Bristol Airport wanted to expand because it was nearing capacity, the Welsh Government objected saying that Cardiff had plenty of spare capacity and permission to expand was refused.
Then the WG announced that they were not going to build a new M4 south of Newport - thus making travel times totally unreliable for those using road transport from the West County into south Wales. Presumably they thought that everybody would come travel by train? I certainly hope that people do indeed travel by train but with many flights leaving at 6am, would it be possible to catch a train from say Bristol to reach Cardiff Airport by 4am for check in? I suspect not but at least at that time they would not be in a jam between the Severn Bridges and Newport.

So, when things get back to normal, we could well see business picking up at Cardiff Airport should Bristol reach capacity. A good connection by rail would certainly be a big plus for Cardiff Airport. I have also come across people who are unaware of the rail link from west Wales to Rhoose for the short bus shuttle and have actually travelled all the way by train into Cardiff to then come out again by the T9 bus to the Airport. Once the half hourly train service is up and running, it would certainly be wise to increase marketing of this route.
 

Caaardiff

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There are many many reasons why Bristol Airport is thriving and Cardiff Airport is struggling. Train access is way down the bottom of the list.
Any train spur to Cardiff Airport is a bonus, not a necessity, and will have very little effect to Cardiff Airports passenger numbers.
Its lucky to have a train link to Rhoose, that frequency needs to be improved first, or the bus link to go from Barry instead of Rhoose due to higher frequency of trains.
There's no direct link to Heathrow from the South West, you either change at Reading to a bus or into Paddington and back on the express.

Moderator note: Replies to the above post have been moved to the following thread: https://www.railforums.co.uk/thread...ort-infrastructure-to-cardiff-airport.220504/
 
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Bald Rick

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Air travel is environmentally terrible and I see that the French Government have virtually banned most internal air travel.

They haven’t, not by a long shot. Their ‘ban’ will remove a handful of flights.
 

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59CosG95

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TFW's "Work in your area" page has stated that piling works on the Aberdare line started yesterday (26/7/21) and will run until 5/2/22, between Aberdare and Pontypridd. Nothing yet on any of the other lines.
 

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