Wales

Trains to London: Cardiff to Paddington plan expands

London Paddington station Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Grand Union Trains wants to operate a train service from Cardiff to London Paddington

Plans for a new train service between south Wales and London have been expanded to include more stations.

However operator Grand Union Trains revealed services between Cardiff and Paddington will initially run every two hours from 2021 instead of hourly as originally proposed.

Hourly services will start in 2023 and will run to Llanelli, which currently has one train a day to London.

The changes were made following talks with the Welsh Government.

Grand Union said it would create 135 jobs and a south Wales headquarters.

Currently only Great Western Railway (GWR) runs services between Cardiff Central and Paddington.

The revised Grand Union Trains timetable would initially see Cardiff to London services operate every two hours, calling at Newport, Severn Tunnel Junction and Bristol Parkway, also stopping at Cardiff Parkway when it opens.

GWR's current half-hourly services takes just over two hours, but the company has announced that from December, the Cardiff to London service will be fully electric, cutting the journey time to one hour 53 minutes.

It also announced a third hourly service for the busiest times of day that will run non-stop between Bristol Parkway and London Paddington, cutting the journey from Cardiff to London to one hour 42 minutes.

Grand Union Trains, which is bidding for a 10-year licence, previously said the new service would cut about 20 minutes from journey times between Cardiff and London by not stopping at Swindon, Didcot and Reading.

Within two years, the company said services would run hourly, taking in Bridgend, Port Talbot Parkway, Neath, Swansea, Gowerton and Llanelli.

Llanelli is currently linked to London by one train a day in each direction on a GWR service to and from Carmarthen.

Ian Yeowart, Grand Union managing director said the proposal had "widespread support in Wales, particularly from the Welsh Government".

"As a result of our ongoing discussions together, we have been happy to review our initial plans to find the best way to support the government in delivering improved services," he added.

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