In December passengers using the South Wales mainline will see a transformation of their rail services as GWR’s biggest timetable change since 1976 comes into effect.
Passengers in Wales and Borders will also benefit from enhanced Sunday services by Transport for Wales (TfW) along with additional rolling stock to boost capacity across the network.
To support this change we are working closely with GWR and TfW to prepare for the new timetable which will introduce new services and faster journey times across the Great Western main line including services into South Wales.
The December 2019 timetable will see a typical journey time saving of 14 minutes between Cardiff and London Paddington, a huge boost for passengers and businesses. TfW will also run more frequent trains on Sundays, similar to their current weekday service.
We have amended our schedule of delivering electrification to Cardiff; electrification to Newport will be delivered ahead of the December timetable as planned but the 10 mile stretch to Cardiff, which will be built by November, will now be tested and switched on over the Christmas and New Year break.
Delivery of electrification to Cardiff has taken longer than planned and testing of the new electric section of railway around Cardiff has been moved to Christmas, when the railway is already closed. The new schedule for testing and switching on electrification to Cardiff has no impact on the new December timetable changes as GWR’s bi-mode trains can run on diesel between Newport and Cardiff until January when electric services will start to Cardiff.
Alison Thompson, chief operating officer for Network Rail Wales and Borders, said: “We are really focussed on the smooth introduction of the new timetable in December. The new timetable will bring passengers more frequent, new services and faster journeys. This is the service they want and will also support businesses in Wales. The new timetable provides more capacity on busy routes like Cardiff to Taunton via Bristol.
“Electrification reaching Cardiff is a significant milestone as we continue to deliver the biggest upgrade to the Great Western mainline since it was built by Brunel more than 175 years ago. We really want to thank passengers, businesses and our lineside neighbours for bearing with us through this huge modernisation programme.”