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Easter spotlight: Cardiff Area Signalling Renewal (CASR) project

03 March 2016

Over the Easter bank holiday, more than 15,000 members of Network Rail’s Orange Army will be working night and day to deliver £60m of improvements to the railway as part of the £40bn Railway Upgrade Plan. 

This series of bite-size features takes a closer look at the work they’ll be carrying out across Britain to create a better, more reliable railway. 


What’s the CASR project? 

Part of a wider £450m scheme to modernise the railway in South Wales – the biggest investment in the Welsh network for more than 100 years –  CASR  is a congestion-busting scheme that will also help to deliver a more reliable railway across the Cardiff and Valleys network. 

Since 2013, CASR has completed four out of the  five major phases of the project (Vale of Glamorgan, Valleys, Barry, East of Cardiff). As well as re-controlling the signalling to the Wales Railway Operations Centre, the work has delivered new track, station enhancements and new platforms at Cardiff Central, Cardiff Queen Street, Barry and Caerphilly. 

Work is progressing well on Phase Five (West of Cardiff & Cardiff Central) and major elements of the work have already been completed to schedule. Last Christmas and New Year a significant phase was undertaken which   involved the installation of three overhead gantries and renewal of four switches and crossing points. 

More will be carried out later in the year with the aim of completing CASR in early 2017.

What will the work over Easter involve? 

New track will be laid and signalling equipment installed along the railway line from Canton to Splott in Cardiff, with most of the work taking place around Cardiff Central station. 

Our teams will be working around the clock with work starting on the evening of Saturday 26 March and lasting until the early hours of Wednesday 30 March. 

Why are we doing the work? 

Ultimately, the aim is to increase the number of services operating across South Wales, making travelling by train much easier for the ever growing numbers of passengers using the railway. 

Improved signalling technology will also mean more reliable journeys with fewer delays, so more trains can run and more people will be able to travel on the network.

The modernisation of the railway will also pave the way for electrification so that faster, longer, greener and quieter trains can run. 

It’ll be easier and quicker for commuters to get to and from work in Cardiff, Swansea and other areas of employment in South Wales. Faster journey times could also benefit businesses in London looking to relocate or set up new bases in the area – a boost for the local economy.

How will Easter train services be affected? 

From 21:00 on Saturday 26 March to Tuesday 29 March, inclusive, there will be no trains running between Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queen Street stations. 

Arriva Trains Wales will run a heavily amended Valley service with extended journey times, bus replacements in operation, diversions in place via different routes and trains starting and terminating from different stations.  

These works have been planned to start after the World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff on Saturday 26 March, for which a regular level of service will be running.

Find out more

See the South Wales resignalling project page

Passengers are advised to check journeys on the National Rail Enquiries website before travelling over the Easter bank holiday.