Dates for additional train services to be introduced over the next 3 years from Transport for Wales have been confirmed for the Wales and Borders routes.
Some of the new services were announced back in 2018. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of these have been revised as changes to infrastructure or crew training have now been completed as planned.
New services will come into effect from December 2022 and these are as follows:
- Cardiff to Cheltenham (a consistent one train per hour to all stations) – Will be delivered by December 2022 (as originally planned)
- Heart of Wales Line (one additional service per day to all stations) – Will be delivered by December 2022 (as originally planned)
- Liverpool to Llandudno (new hourly service) – Will be delivered by December 2023 (revised)
- Extension to the current Manchester Airport to Llandudno service – Will be delivered by December 2023 (revised)
- Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury (a consistent one train per hour to all stations) – Will be delivered by May 2024 (revised)
- Hourly service between Liverpool and Shrewsbury – Will be delivered by December 2024
The South Wales to Manchester route will benefit from refurbished Mark 4 intercity carriages and driving van trailers which have been purchased by TfW.
Plans for some of the new services are dependent on infrastructure changes by Network Rail.
Other service announcements include trains on the Ebbw Vale Line (one additional service per hour between Cross Keys and Newport) – Will go ahead as planned by December 2021 and will be extended to Ebbw Vale Town when infrastructure works are completed in 2023.
Meanwhile on the Wrexham to Bidston line (one additional train per hour calling at some stations) – has been revised and will take place by May 2022
TfW Planning and Performance Director, Colin Lea, said: “It is not unique to us in Wales, but the pandemic continues to have a massive impact on all of us and I’m proud of the way we kept key workers moving during the darkest days. As we now confidently move forward, we are beginning to see how post pandemic travel patterns may turn out. Leisure travel is already returning quickly, but commuting traffic will most likely take longer to return, as many of us adapt to flexible working. These new patterns of travel may help us smooth demand for travel over wider time periods and help alleviate some of our traditionally very busy flows.
“Since the original announcements in 2018, we have worked hard and are starting to see the fruits of that, with pacers now fully withdrawn and some new trains beginning testing around North Wales. However, the pandemic has affected our ability to train new crews and has disrupted our supply chain in many ways. Despite this, we will deliver some of the additional services committed back in 2018 as planned, but a few have needed to be revised. Overall, all the additional services committed in 2018, over 60 new services, will be added to the weekday timetable in the coming few years.
“We remain confident that we will deliver on the ambitious plans Welsh Government has for transport in Wales, including tackling the climate emergency, and we will continue working with partners for the benefit of the communities throughout Wales and the borders.”
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