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  • Welsh Route Study

  • Wales relies on railways for economic growth, creating jobs, moving freight and building sustainable communities. The Welsh Route Study which sets out the strategic vision for the railway in Wales and the Borders. This explains the rail industry’s plan to meet future demand for both passenger and freight markets and the choices that exist for governments, and other funders of the railway, to invest in building a better railway for the region.

    The scope of the Welsh Route Study covers all of the network in Wales, and also includes the key north-south arterial route via the Border counties and Chester, and the route between Shrewsbury and Crewe, providing important connectivity to and from Manchester.

    The railway in Wales has been a success story with passenger growth of close to 50% over the last 10 years, and forecast to keep growing significantly

    The study proposes means to accommodate the challenge of forecasted growth in demand for rail services in both the medium term to 2024, and in the longer term to 2043. It also considers the role that rail can play in growing economies by providing improved connectivity that enables improved access to employment, education and leisure. The study sets out 14 choices for governments and other funders that will deliver a range of improvements to meet these requirements. These choices will inform funding decisions for the rail network in Control Period 6 (CP6) and beyond and will also inform future passenger franchises that cover this part of the network. These choices will deliver:

    • More passenger capacity on the Valley Lines network in South Wales by a combination of longer and/or more frequent trains
    • A phased programme of enhancements to support the Welsh Government’s emerging Metro plans
    • An upgrade of the Relief Lines between Cardiff Central and Severn Tunnel Junction to deliver more capacity and faster journey times
    • A redeveloped Cardiff Central Station to create a station fit for a capital city, that will accommodate future passenger growth
    • Continued closure of level crossings where this improves public safety and enables faster journey times
    • Improved journey times and connectivity for rural services through the Heart of Wales
    • Selected train lengthening on busy trains between Cardiff and Manchester
    • Lines speed improvements in North Wales to reduce journey times
    • Modernisation of the network in North Wales to provide improved connectivity to core UK centres
    • Improved connectivity to Deeside, by a combination of improved rail services and stations
    • Enhanced network capability between Wrexham and Chester to enable new markets to be served between Wrexham and Liverpool/Manchester
    • Improved line speeds between Wrexham and Bidston
    • All day frequency enhancement on the Cambrian Main Line to improve connectivity between mid-Wales and core UK centres
    • Further enhancements to the Ebbw Vale route to deliver more services and provide connectivity to Newport and Abertillery.

    Welsh Route Study
    Welsh Route Study - summary leaflet
    Welsh Route Study - draft for consultation
    Consultation responses