Brand new rail services are set to be launched on one of South Wales’ key lines, almost doubling the number of travel options.
Thanks to a £70 million investment through the Welsh Government and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, Transport for Wales and Network Rail will be delivering direct services between Ebbw Vale and Newport.
From December, the line will have two trains per hour – one to Cardiff and one to Newport. That means the line will have more than 60 services running on it every single day.
TfW Project Sponsor Kevin Lewis said the project was an example of “true collaboration”.
“These new services will be a huge boost for the local economy giving people more options for leisure, learning and business travel.
“If you want to travel towards Bristol, London or Manchester, you no longer have to double back on yourself to Cardiff, though those services are still there for those heading west.
“TfW, Network Rail and our partners in Blaenau Gwent Council, as well as Caerphilly Council have worked incredibly closely to ensure we’ve delivered genuine value for money from this Welsh Government investment. This really has been a truly collaborative effort.”
The project has also seen a fully accessible footbridge built at Llanhilleth and new platforms at Llanhilleth and Newbridge, meaning there is now step-free access to all platforms on the line.
To allow the services to run, a new 7-mile passing loop has been built between Crosskeys and Aberbeeg alongside new earthworks and drainage, constructed to accommodate the new track. Alongside this work, The Department for Transport and Network Rail have provided a further £17m of funding to deliver the signalling upgrade at the south end of the line.
Network Rail with contractors AmcoGiffen and Siemens have been delivering the work on infrastructure for the past 18 months with the next set of work included below.
During this time work will be continuous (24/7) as buses replace trains.
- Sunday 24 September
- Saturday 30 September and Sunday 1 October
- Sunday 15 November to Monday 4 December 2023
Nick Millington, Route Director at Network Rail Wales and Borders said:
“I’m delighted that we are now entering the final phase of work which will transform how passengers travel on the Ebbw Vale line. “We are proud to provide low carbon journeys and support Welsh Government ambitions including its modal shift away from private cars. It will also help connect communities and boost the local economy. “I’d like to again thank passengers and our neighbours for continuing to bear with us as we complete these vital improvements.”
A return ticket from Ebbw Vale Town to Newport will cost you £8.30 or £29.10 for a seven-day season ticket (correct up to March 2024).
The Ebbw Vale line reopened in 2008 after being closed for 40 years and was instantly popular with passengers with direct services to and from Cardiff Central.
In 2014, a brand-new station at Pye Corner opened serving passengers at the southern end of the line and in 2015, approximately 1.5miles of new track was laid to extend the railway from Ebbw Vale Parkway to a brand-new station at Ebbw Vale Town.
Councillor John Morgan, Cabinet Member, Place and Regeneration and Economic Development at Blaenau Gwent Council commented:
“I am pleased that the work to improve the rail service is nearing completion. Working with our partners in Welsh Government, Network Rail and Transport for Wales to enhance the Ebbw Valley rail link to improve transport links remains a high priority for the Council.
“I have no doubt that a more frequent service will improve opportunities for inward investment, access to employment both within and outside of the local area and enhance a critical transport artery that is seen as a main driver within the context of the wider Cardiff Capital Region City Deal offer and the development of the Metro.”
And Cllr Nigel George, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, Property and Highways at Caerphilly Council said:
“The improvements at Newbridge station and the wider works on the route between Ebbw Vale and Newport are a fantastic step forward to improving access for all to public transport.
“Not only will they improve access for disabled travellers, they should also encourage more people to travel by rail and improve the customer experience for families with pushchairs and those with luggage.
“I’d like to thank all stakeholders for all the hard work and Welsh Government for their investment that has gone into making these works a reality and I look forward to seeing the difference they make for people locally.”
As a result in the uplift in services, trains will be retimed so it is important for customers to check their journey details from 11 December onwards.