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Plans unveiled for five new Welsh railway stations

Transport for Wales’ plans to improve public transport have moved a step closer, with proposals unveiled for five new railway stations.

A public consultation has begun on designs for the new stations in South East Wales, along with new train services.

The potential stations are at Cardiff East, Newport West, Somerton, Llanwern and Magor and Undy.

Members of the public are also being asked for their views on new train services between Cardiff, Bristol and Cheltenham Spa, which could provide the new stations with up to four trains per hour and increase frequencies at existing local stations on the route.

If funded, the proposals will create new opportunities for direct local and cross-border travel on both sides of the Severn by public transport.

Transport for Wales chief transport planning and development officer Geoff Ogden said: “Our vision for Wales is one in which we all have more opportunities to live healthier and happier lives. For us, unlocking the capability of the South Wales mainline is key to changing how people travel in the region.

“We’re proud to share our proposals for five new stations between Cardiff Central and Severn Tunnel Junction that together with the new services will offer more people the opportunity to travel on the railway.

“We know that these designs will improve with public feedback. That’s why we’re asking people to share their thoughts.”

The proposals have been developed with funding from the UK Government, as part of the Union Connectivity Review.

Funding to deliver the consultation has been provided by the Welsh Government. Further funding needs to be secured to continue the development of the work and the delivery of the final assets.

The proposals are key recommendations of the South East Wales Transport Commission, which aims to improve how people access and travel on the railway. They are delivered as part of the South Wales Main Line Programme.

The Commission was established in October 2019 to consider options for reducing motorway congestion following the decision not to proceed with the £1.4bn M4 relief road around Newport.

Its proposals centre on improving train services between Cardiff, Newport and Bristol by upgrading the four track South Wales Main Line, so it can be used by more trains with more flexibility. For the first time, this would allow for local, commuting services to run frequently without disrupting express rail services.

The Commission also suggested the ambitious railway station building programme.

The rail backbone would be supported by new rapid bus and cycle corridors across the region, especially within Newport. Taken together, over 90% of Cardiff and Newport’s population would live within a mile of a railway station or rapid bus corridor if the proposals are taken forward. Many these recommendations can be delivered through upgrades to the existing rail and road network.

Commission chair Lord Burns previously told NCE he believes “the time is right” for the proposals.

“We have this emphasis on connecting the nations, on infrastructure as we come out of Covid, on more flexibility about work and the green agenda,” he said. “These are all things that give us some momentum.”