Network Rail unveils major development plans to meet demand

artists impression Cardiff central station Image copyright Powell Dobson Architects
Image caption An artist's impression of how Cardiff central station could look

A major redevelopment of Cardiff central station and plans to electrify the north Wales main line are amongst Network Rail's ambitions for the next 30 years.

The Welsh Route Study forecasts rail travel into the Welsh capital will grow from 13m to 33m by 2043.

Its proposals aim to meet that future demand and improve connectivity across the country.

Plans include increasing line speeds and expanding capacity on services.

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Media captionNetwork Rail's Tim James outlines plans to revamp railways in Wales
Image copyright Network Rail

Potential development options include:

  • Modernisation of the north Wales coast main line between Crewe and Holyhead
  • Redevelop Cardiff central station
  • More seats on Cardiff Valley line services during peak times
  • Development of the Cardiff city metro proposals
  • Extra peak services on the Heart of Wales line from Swansea to Shrewbury
  • Extra carriages on selected Marches Line services between Cardiff and Manchester
  • Increased network capacity between Wrexham and Chester
  • Improved line speeds between Wrexham and Bidston for connections to Liverpool
  • Additional peak services on the Cambrian line from Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury
Image copyright Powell Dobson Architects
Image caption The inside of Cardiff central station could look like this
Image copyright John Lord/Geograph
Image caption More seats could be put on Cardiff valley lines at peak times under the plans

Level crossings could also be closed in west Wales, there could be a new interchange station at Shotton, Flintshire, and improved line speeds on the north Wales coast main line and relief routes between Severn Tunnel Junction and Cardiff.

Tim James, head of strategy and planning for Network Rail Wales, said passenger numbers would continue to increase and while work over the next five years, including line electrification and signalling would improve reliability and the potential for more and faster journeys, there was still more to do to meet demand.

Members of the public can comment on the study until a consultation on the plan ends on 9 June.

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