Concern at prospect of inter-city and freight services sharing tracks

A COMMISSION created to explore alternatives to building a £1.5 billion new motorway around Newport has suggested building six new stations on the South Wales main line and putting inter-city and freight trains on the same pair of tracks.

The South East Wales Transport Commission, chaired by Lord Burns, recommends capital investment of £600 million to £800 million over 10 years to create a ‘network of alternatives’ to the private car. The recommended package, if implemented in full, would place the homes of more than 90% of people in Cardiff and Newport within one mile of a railway station or rapid bus corridor, and double the number of Newport residents within a mile of a railway station.

New stations on the main line are proposed at: Newport Road, Cardiff Parkway and Newport West, all between Cardiff Central and Newport; and at Newport East, Llanwern and Magor, all between Newport and Severn Tunnel Junction. Newport’s existing station could be renamed Newport Central.

The commission believes a service of four trains per hour for the new stations is feasible, by making better use of the four-track main line. It recommends a linespeed of 90mph on all four tracks, with investment to upgrade the relief lines from 60mph, although its rail technical study uses 75mph as ‘the maximum practical speed’ for the relief lines.

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