Multi-Million Investment for Welsh Railways
New funding has been announced for a project which will see ambitious upgrades to Welsh railways. On Friday 21 August 2020, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that there would be an investment of £343 million to help deliver better journeys for passengers.
Schemes to be funded by this investment include kickstarting the design of the Cardiff Central Station upgrade, advancing plans for cutting-edge digital signalling on the Cambrian Line and speeding up journeys between Cardiff and Swansea.
Work on a new, modern and updated design for Cardiff Central Station will be funded through the release of £5.8 million, with the redevelopment and upgrading works focusing on improving access and ensuring platforms are suited for longer trains, as well as boosting space and capacity for passengers.
Mr Shapps also announced £3 million to advance plans for upgraded signalling on the 241km Cambrian line from Shrewsbury Sutton Bridge Junction to Aberystwyth and Pwllheli. The planned state-of-the-art digital signalling system will modernise the network. Along with this it will also improve the reliability of services and support the introduction of a new fleet, which is being rolled out across the network in December 2022.
Almost £2 million has also been made available for the next phase of development work on proposals to see journeys between Cardiff and Swansea, Chester and Llandudno Junction and the Severn Tunnel become quicker. This will be done through better aligned tracks and by putting down additional services on the lines.
The announcement of these new projects follows on from major reforms to the network over the past few months, including the completion of a fully electric route between Cardiff and London, and the devolution of powers over the Core Valley Line to the Welsh Government.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ”The host of improvements we are delivering across Wales, from huge infrastructure upgrades to creating new and modern stations, are vital to deliver better, quicker and more convenient journeys for passengers within, into and out of Wales.
“We want to transform travel for passengers and, as we build back better from COVID-19, we will ensure our investment helps to level up all parts of the UK. By upgrading, improving, and – crucially –modernising our railways, we will make good on our promise to deliver the reliable journeys passengers deserve.”
UK government Minister in Wales David TC Davies said: “Communities across Wales will benefit from this multi-million package of rail investment, aimed at delivering rail services that are fit for the future.
“From proposals to speed up services, improving access for those who need it most and boosting connectivity, these improvements form part of our broader plans to level up the nations and regions of the UK as we rebuild our economy following the coronavirus.
“It was confirmed in June that the Great Western Main Line is now fully electric, revolutionising train travel between Cardiff and London through quicker, more environmentally friendly journeys. The final remaining section through the Severn Tunnel was completed following a £76 million investment from the UK government.”
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