On street tram services for Cardiff as part of new rail franchise?

A story which has gone under the radar slightly was part of the announcement of the new rail franchise for Wales – a tram-train service including on street running and four new stops. Very little detail has actually been released on the plans except that it is likely to start operating in 2023 and 36 new Stadler Citylink vehicles will be ordered to help to run the service.

The announcement of major investment in Welsh rail services being operated under the Transport for Wales brand (everything has to be Transport for somewhere nowadays it would seem!) contained a lot of outline detail, the majority of which don’t fall under the remit of this website but suffice to say does include a lot of new trains and an improved service on many lines. The new franchise will be operated by KeolisAmey – who of course have a lot of experience with running light rail in this country in both Manchester and on the DLR – who have committed to these major improvements.

As for the Cardiff Metro service this is due to start running in full in 2023 with new stations opening at Loudon Square and The Flourish in Cardiff Bay. There will be on street running – but no route details seem to have been mentioned – and the new stations/stops will be high floor (a la Manchester) so that more investment than necessary isn’t needed on the existing railway line. Two further stations will be built at Gabalfa and Crwys Road but it isn’t clear if these will open in 2023 or will have to wait a bit longer.

36 Stadler Citylink Tram-Trains are being ordered (presumably not just for this service). These will be similar to those being used for the pilot Tram-Train service in Sheffield but will be high floor varieties.

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1 Response to On street tram services for Cardiff as part of new rail franchise?

  1. Watcherzero says:

    Current valley lines service 2tph from Trehert, Aberdare and Merthyr to Queen street then separate 5 tph shuttle from Queen Street to Cardiff Bay. Replaced by 4tph from each of those to Queen Street with 2tph from each continuing through to Cardiff Bay (and Flourish) for an effective 6tph service. Cardiff Bay to Flourish will be a short on street track extension operated by battery.

    Trams will cut an average of 12 minutes from the present 57m service from valleys to Queen Street and remove an average 15 minute interchange time for the Bay.

    The Valley lines will be operated by 36x 3 car Stadler Citylink, highfloor. 40m units capable of operating as doubles, powered by 25kv intermittent electrification and battery. 129 seats, 137 standing capacity. Trams will be level with platforms and have an extending step to cover the platform gap. Planning a new depot to hold 30 of them and stabling at Trehert for 18.

    Valley lines are a highly peaky service with almost all demand being in rush hour and very little off-peak so there would be a few doubles in rush hour but otherwise single tram operated but they have room to extend double operation by ordering more if they manage to grow the off-peak market on the lines.

    The motivation is electrifying and increasing frequency of the valley lines while also creating a network that future on street tram lines in Cardiff can plug in to.

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