TRANSPORT FOR WALES

Update – Autumn/Winter 2019

First Year of Transport for Wales

We reached our one year anniverisary this month and some of the key highlights over the year include the creation of the advanced fare initiative, making it cheaper for journeys over 50 miles; delay repay 15 was launched so that customers can claim for delays of 15 minutes or more and the implementation of new performance measures designed to provide a more reliable and punctual service.

Some of the achievements:

First fare initiative launched
We’ve created over 3000 new advanced fares, making rail travel cheaper than ever for many journeys over 50 miles.

Successfully launched new services
Through the reopening of the Halton Curve track, we’ve launched 215 new services per week, connecting Wrexham with Liverpool by rail for the first time in 40 years and providing an hourly link between Cheshire and Liverpool. The improved connectivity will provide a major economic boost for the region.

Delay Repay 15
For the first time ever, rail customers in Wales and the Borders can claim for delays of just 15 minutes. A 15-minute delay is a big deal to our customers so this is a huge benefit to them and shows our recognition of that.

Additional train capacity
In May, we introduced additional rolling stock, including the return of loco-hauled Class 37 trains to provide extra capacity on the Rhymney Line. More additional trains are due to arrive in time for our December timetable change, including 12 modern Class 170 trains.

Community Rail Vision Launch
The vision will see new Community Rail Partnerships set up across the entire Wales and Borders network to promote and encourage rail use in communities. More than £600,000 will be invested every single year, with 22 new community ambassador roles created alongside marketing roles which will focus on promoting regional tourism and local economic growth. You can read the vision here.

New performance measures
Our passengers deserve a high quality, reliable and punctual service, so we have introduced a new suite of targets around train performance, that are passenger focused and bespoke to TfW. These include measuring passenger time lost, short formations, and the percentage of station stops missed.

Created 120 new jobs
Transport for Wales has created more than 120 new jobs since it took over running rail services in Wales and the borders in 2018. They range from engineering and design roles to customer service and cleaning positions. You may also have seen our staff in our recent TV advertising campaign.

Concessionary Travel Cards
We have achieved a key milestone in our first all-Wales bus project. TfW is leading the roll-out of a new-style Concessionary Travel Card, to ensure consistency across Wales. The 22 local authorities began issuing the new-style Concessionary Travel Cards to new applicants on 17 June, and holders have been able to apply for the new cards since September.

Station Improvement Vision Launch
In September, we launched our Station Improvement Vision. We’re investing £194 million in every station across the Wales and Borders network, including improved passenger information, new signage, better platform shelters and better cycle storage facilities. We’re also making our stations safer, with CCTV installed at all stations.

South Wales Metro
We’ve started work on the first stages of the South Wales Metro project. Detailed planning and preparation is underway, and we’ve also started work on site at both the new Metro tram-train depot at Taff’s Well and the new infrastructure depot in Treforest.

Preparations for Autumn:

Autumn has historically been a challenging period for the rail industry due to the difficult weather conditions and every effort is focused to minimise the impact on customers from short formations and disruption. Our teams across the Wales rail industry are ready to work around the clock, during difficult conditions to provide the best possible service, and the decisions we have made are with the customer at the heart of everything.

We have brought forward the fitment of Wheel Slide Protection (WSP) to many of our trains, as well as “automatic sander” technology to provide improved resilience for the fleet. Network Rail have been pro-actively managing vegetation and will be delivering more rail head treatment than ever before and have also put in place frontline response teams.

The main wheel lathe is based at Canton Depot, where it has been fully overhauled (for the first time in 35 years) and serviced. This will improve lathe reliability and availability, reducing the amount of time units need to be stopped from traffic. A daily plan will be regularly reviewed and managed to reprioritise units to minimise the impact on the customer through short formations and cancellations.

TfW have programmed in training for 3 other members of depot staff to be competent in using the wheel lathe in Canton (taking the business total to 9), to provide further resilience in the case of unplanned staff absence. 

TfW also has access to third party wheel lathes at Crewe ETD and Longsight in Manchester that can be used in provision. Central Rivers and Tyseley Depots are also being explored as additional options.

Vegetation management is another key activity prior to Autumn to support the safe and punctual running of trains on the network.

Over the last 5 years Network Rail resource into vegetation management has more than doubled, and as a result, the amount of vegetation removed has similarly increased. While it is important to remove volumes of vegetation, it is also important that these clearances are targeted to the most appropriate areas.

In terms of volume delivered, NR delivered just over 3.5m sqm of vegetation last year which was 30% more than the previous year and 100% more than 2 years previous.  This year NR is on target to deliver even more and will deliver in excess of 3.7m sqm which is targeted at key areas and cover areas also reported as important by TFW drivers. 

In 2017, two ‘Vegetation Management Joint Working Groups’ were established, one for each delivery unit (North and Borders and South). These monthly meetings give the Passengers and Freight Operating Companies the opportunity to highlight areas they consider to be problematic for driving during the season, which are then incorporated into the vegetation management plan. Inspector and driver reports are also discussed, with action plans constructed from the intelligence these provide.

The Route has re-distributed funding to provide greater focus on managing lineside vegetation in relation to the wider safety risk to trains and passengers and has secured significantly more funding to address this ongoing challenge. A risk-based approach is used to identify and prioritise vegetation work and additional surveys are being commissioned to further improve the quality of the information used to identify and manage the risk.

Station Improvement

Recently, we announced the details of the £194 million investment plan to improve all 247 railway stations across Wales.

The Station Improvement Vision highlights what improvements customers and communities can expect to see at their local stations over the next fifteen years. The programme will deliver free WiFi, improved shelters, CCTV, improved provision for cycle storage and improved passenger information, at every station.

The improvements include expanding the Secure Station Accreditation programme, a UK accreditation in conjunction with the British Transport Police, which will make stations safer and more welcoming for customers.

Demonstrating their commitment and supporting Welsh Government’s plans to create a more sustainable Wales through deduction in carbon emissions generated through transport, we will create at least 1,500 additional car parking spaces across the network, making it easier for people to leave their car and use public transport.

Station

Commence

Completion

Swansea

14/08/2019

03/07/2020

Bridgend

15/10/2019

01/06/2020

Dovey Junction

21/10/2019

05/06/2020

Machynlleth

21/10/2019

11/06/2020

Wrexham General

21/10/2019

05/06/2020

Cardiff Central

03/02/2019

14/09/2020

 

Timetable Consultation

Recently, we held a timetable consultation in Cardiff, looking ahead to the May 2020 timetable changes. We recognise the valuable input from stakeholders and the workshop provided some useful discussion, ideas and feedback. The slides from the workshop have been shared with attendees and a report will be compiled shortly. The intention is to have the next workshop in Shrewsbury.

 

Bow Street Commences

Our first new station has started to take shape.

The station, due for opening next year, will provide a useful transport link to those travelling in from further afield – both for tourism but also academics who will be going to Aberystwyth University and their newly developed research campus which is just down the road from Bow Street.

We’ll keep you posted on how the station develops over the next few months – a key step over the next few weeks will be the installation of the platforms and managing the blockade between Machynlleth and Aberystwyth.