South Wales electrified?

electric overhead gantries


Is the rail landscape in South Wales on the point of major change?

With ITV Wales reporting a UK government u-turn on its previous exclusion of Swansea from electrification, and big rail spending plans due to be announced, plus the already-announced direct rail link from south Wales to Heathrow, it begins to look likely.
Campaigners for electrification to Swansea met this weekend to press their case. If electrification is good for Sheffield then why not Swansea?
Fishguard Trains will be following developments closely next week …



UK Government announces major new electrification for Welsh railways: “The landmark decision to take electric rail beyond Cardiff to Swansea, completing the full electrification of the Great Western Main Line out of London Paddington at a total cost of more than £600m, and electrifying the Welsh Valley lines, including Ebbw Vale, Maesteg and the Vale of Glamorgan. These will give two-thirds of the Welsh population access to new fleets of electric trains helping to generate Welsh jobs and growth by slashing journey times and boosting passenger and freight capacity.

Fishguard Trains will be looking closely at the implications for the remaining third of our rail network – including Fishguard.


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5 Responses to South Wales electrified?

  1. Swansea Jack

    My understanding at the moment is that Swansea electrification is fairly definite. I also understand that a FOI (Freedom of Information) request to the Department of Transport has confirmed that Swansea to Carmarthen is to be cleared for the 26m long IEP if that remains the train choice for the Paddington to South Wales service group. Cardiff Valley lines should also be electrified.

    What will work the through Carmarthen to London services is to be confirmed, and concerns must remain over through services to Pembroke Dock and Tenby on Summer Saturdays.

  2. Rhydgaled

    Two thirds of the Welsh population may be covered by the electrification anouncment, but I doubt it’s also two thirds of the Welsh rail network. It is great news that the GWML electrification is going to Swansea, taking the wires from London to Cardiff but not Swansea never made any sense in my opinion.

    I’m pretty sure the Great Western franchise consultation specified that the planned stock for the Paddington – Carmarthen through services was IEP, and I doubt anything will change that unless an non-IEP option is used to maintain the Pembroke Dock – Paddington through services.

    As Swansea Jack says, the future of the Pembroke & Tenby’s through London service is in doubt due to IEP’s longer carriages. By extension, any hope of restoring through London services to the Milford or Fishguard branches would be dashed if IEP coaches are not resized to fit the current loading guage and alternative stock isn’t obtained since no clearance for IEP is planned in Pembrokeshire.

    Another possible implication for S.W. Wales which is frequently debated on RailUK fourm is the Manchester – Carmarthen/Milford hourly service. Some say that should become seperate services, Cardiff – Manchester, Cardiff – Swansea and Swansea – Carmarthen/Milford services to make more use of the wires between Swansea and Cardiff. My own opinion is that might not be a bad idea, provided alternative regular through services to Cardiff are provided from Pembs (via the Swansea District Line). This might also allow trains between Swansea and Cardiff to be formed of more carriages, with 2/3-car DMUs used for the seperate Pembs – Swansea and Pembs – Cardiff services.

  3. Swansea Jack

    I don’t approve of separating out the Manchester – Milford / Carmarthen through trains as that will once again remove a very welcome feature of our train service at present – the lack of needing to change train on many journeys to Cardiff, and the ability to reach many other centres of the UK via only 1 change of train, including places such as Edinburgh, York, Newcastle, Portsmouth and many others is important to many passengers.

    With hourly (or better ) Swansea to London services, 2 trains per hour to Maesteg, and Swanline services which should become hourly at worst, there is no need to artificially inflate the number of electric trains between Cardiff and Swansea by depriving West Wales yet again.

    Today’s announcement gave Wales everything it had requested from the CP5 HLOS electrification – Swansea added to the Cardiff to London scheme, all the Valley lines getting electrification, including Maesteg, the Vale of Glamorgan and Ebbw Vale. Take a look at the lack of South Yorkshire wiring to link MML wiring to Doncaster and Leeds which has gone into the post 2019 pile, as has the Derby to Bristol electrification for XCountry. Wales has done well today and all those from Welsh Government (including the rail unit), SWWITCH and SEWTA, local businesses including Swansea Business club, local MPs from South & West Wales, the Wales Office in London, transport and rail users groups and numerous individuals deserve the credit for pulling together to get this result. Well done all!

    There is much still to be done, such as influencing the final design of IEP, how the through Carmarthen and Pembroke / Tenby services to London will continue etc but we need to take stock and realise that today South and West Wales has done well!!

    • Rhydgaled

      Today’s is certainly great news, as I said in my first paragraph. We should now be getting all the electrification that has been asked for in south Wales .

      On breaking up the Manchester service, note that my support was conditional, “provided alternative regular through services to Cardiff are provided from Pembs (via the Swansea District Line)”. This would maintain regular journey opertunities to Cardiff without changing trains, and make these journies faster.

  4. anthony

    I would say keep the west wales – Manchester service as it is but get some more units and have an hourly service to Milford Haven rather than the two hourly gaps. perhaps even have it run via the Swansea district line with Fishguard Hbr/Pembroke dock services running through to Swanea alomng with some Carmarthen – Swansea shuttles and the heart of wales line services.

    The only stupid thing about this annoucement is the route to Cheltenham isnt being wired which is a shame as we could have had an hourly Swnasea – Cheltenham & hourly Maesteg – Ebbw Vale services both using emu’s.

    Of course what emu’s we get is another matter and class 315’s were talked about now there seems a possibility that the class 313’s with Southern could also be coming to south wales after being re-built and fitted with new pantographs etc.

    I am also sure we will all agree it will be a sight to see an emu at Swansea at long last

    Another question to be asked is that what are we going to do with all teh class 150/153’s as they need work done to continue operating beyond 2020.

    ATW class 153’s should be re-formed back into class 155’s and get fitted with new engines etc which will allow them better acceleration, fuel economy etc

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