South Wales Metro

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Former proposed South Wales Metro network

The South Wales Metro (Welsh: Metro De Cymru) is a proposed integration of heavy rail and development of light rail and bus-based public transport services and systems in South East Wales around the hub of Cardiff Central. The first phase was approved for development in October 2013.[1]

Background[edit]

The existing rail-based transport systems in South Wales were severely degraded following the 1960s Beeching cuts, with the closure of many lines serving the former mining communities and their links to ports on the South Wales coast. These left many smaller former mining communities isolated and without rail services. As a result, from the 1980s, some of the closures were reversed: services were reinstated on Cardiff's City Line in 1987, the Aberdare Line in 1988, the Maesteg Line in 1992, the Vale of Glamorgan Line between Barry and Bridgend in 2005, and the Ebbw Vale Line in 2008.

Development[edit]

In February 2011, Cardiff Business Partnership (CBP) and the Institute of Welsh Affairs published a report by Professor Mark Barry of Cardiff University, calling for an investment of £2.5bn over 10 years to connect Cardiff, Newport and the South Wales Valleys.[2] The report concluded that with the stated investment in a regional metro system, by 2025 it would be possible to travel from the Heads of the Valleys to Cardiff or Newport in 40 minutes, by combining electrified heavy rail and light rail systems and boosted by faster rail links to London and Heathrow Airport.[3][2]

After the Welsh Government, supported by parties including a CBP team led by Mark Barry, lobbied at Westminster for the extension of the Great Western Main Line electrification programme west to Swansea, and north into the South Wales Valleys, Barry developed a more detailed blueprint plan for Cardiff. After internal consultation, this was submitted by CBP to the Welsh Government's Business Minister Edwina Hart in December 2012.[4] The scheme proposed a £200m investment in a Cardiff cross-rail scheme based on trams, between St Mellons in the east via Cardiff Central, south into Cardiff Bay, north to Coryton, converting a number of Valley Lines heavy rail routes to light rail, and a new route north-west via Ely and Radyr Court to the M4 motorway near Creigiau.[4]

From Autumn 2012, Barry led the private sector Metro Consortium, with the common aim of promoting the South Wales Metro project, which included representatives from Capita, Jones Lang LaSalle, The Urbanists and Steer Davies Gleave. They produced a further interim report, "A Cardiff City Region Metro: transform | regenerate | connect" published in February 2013. Hart then commissioned Barry to lead a more detailed analysis of the potential benefits, leading to the publication of The Metro Impact Study in October 2013. This more substantive report concluded that an initial £1bn investment in an integrated metro transport network for South East Wales could, over a 30-year period, add 420,000 people to the regional transport network, create 7,000 new jobs and plough an additional £4bn into the regional economy.[5]

In October 2013, after Barry had submitted his report to Hart at the end of summer 2013, the Business Minister endorsed the report. She allocated £62m for phase one of the scheme to improve bus and rail links, including rail infrastructure improvements, station upgrades, park and ride schemes, bus corridors, and walking and cycling schemes.[6] She also set up a working group to examine detailed proposals for the potential subsequent stages of the Cardiff Capital Region Metro system.[1]

Implementation[edit]

Llandaf station sign with interim Metro branding, July 2017

First Minister Carwyn Jones formally launched the South Wales Metro in November 2015, with the Welsh Government setting out its aspirations for the Metro in its November 2015 publication, "Rolling Out Our Metro".[7]

Procurement for the Metro began in July 2016, as part of the procurement process for the next Wales & Borders franchise. This was managed by Transport for Wales.[8] This concluded in May 2018, with the awarding of the franchise to KeolisAmey Wales, trading as Transport for Wales Rail, from 14 October 2018.[9] Details of the £5 billion investment in the Metro were announced in June 2018, which included a fleet of new trains and tram-trains, at least five new stations, an on-street extension of the Cardiff Bay branch, and restoration of services between Ebbw Vale and Newport.[10] In October 2018, £119 million of funding was obtained from the European Union to support the modernisation plans.[11]

Proposed network[edit]

Existing rail network[edit]

Current proposals[edit]

Former proposals[edit]

These routes were planned to be developed as high-speed bus routes or light rail/tram-based services - however, they are not currently part of the Metro plans:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Plans show the potential of metro network". ITV Wales. 11 October 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b Barry, Mark. "A Metro for Wales' Capital City Region: Connecting Cardiff, Newport and the Valleys" (PDF). Institute of Welsh Affairs.
  3. ^ "South east Wales 'needs £2.5bn metro rail network'". BBC Wales. 1 February 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Cardiff 'crossrail' proposals by business lobby". BBC Wales. 31 December 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  5. ^ Chris Kelsey (22 October 2013). "Edwina Hart gives backing to Cardiff Capital Region Metro system". South Wales Echo. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  6. ^ Chris Kelsey (22 October 2013). "Edwina Hart gives backing to Cardiff Capital Region Metro system". South Wales Echo. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  7. ^ http://gov.wales/docs/det/publications/160224-metro-information-brochure-en.pdf
  8. ^ South Wales Metro consultation to begin Railway Gazette International 30 November 2015
  9. ^ "New £5bn contract to run Wales' trains". BBC News. 2018-05-23. Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  10. ^ "New trains and more services in £5bn deal". BBC News. 2018-06-04. Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  11. ^ Funding secured for South West Metro project Railway Gazette International 4 October 2018

External links[edit]