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During the Christmas period, engineering work will be carried out throughout the Wales and Borders network to take advantage of a reduction in train services.
On Christmas Day and Boxing Day, there will be no rail services operating throughout the Wales and Borders network, whilst on New Year’s Day, no rail services will operate throughout the South Wales valleys network.
On the evenings of Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, there will only be a limited train service.
South Wales Metro
Transport for Wales is continuing work to develop the South Wales Metro. From Saturday, 27 December to Thursday, 6 January 2022 buses will replace trains between Pontypridd and both Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare.
The transformation of the Core Valley Lines for the Metro has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, and will enable faster, more frequent services between Cardiff and the heads of the valleys.
The closure will allow engineering work to take place in reparation for the introduction of brand new electric tram-trains.
Replacement bus services will be in operation between Merthyr Tydfil, Aberdare and Pontypridd. Services between Radyr, Pontypridd and Treherbert will continue to be replaced by buses in the evenings while overnight work takes place.
Network Rail is continuing work on a £30m refurbishment of Barmouth Viaduct. The Cambrian Coast Line between Machynlleth and Pwllheli will be closed until Wednesday 29 December, with replacement buses running.
Work on Barmouth viaduct.
Train services between Shrewsbury and Crewe
On 27 and 28 December Network Rail will replace the Mill Street bridge in Wem, and train services between Shrewsbury and Crewe will be replaced by buses.
Most of the work will take place between 11 pm on Christmas Eve and the morning on 29 December.
Mill Street bridge in Wem.
South Wales Main Line
Network Rail is taking advantage of the railway being closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day to carry out key projects in partnership with two local authorities along the South Wales Main Line.
Working with Newport Council, a brand-new, fully accessible footbridge will be installed at Newport station that links Devon Place and Queensway. This work will not affect train services.
Drone photo of Newport Station.
Working with Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, Network Rail and contractors will be removing a railway footbridge adjacent to the A473 in Llanharan that is no longer fit for purpose. The council’s contractor will commence work in February 2022 to replace the bridge.
Llanharan railway footbridge
Services between London and South Wales
Between 27 and 31 December, Great Western Railway services between London and South Wales will be altered due to engineering work. Services will be diverted between Newport and Swindon, which will extend journey times by around 25 minutes, and will call at Patchway instead of Bristol Parkway, which will be only served by replacement buses. For more information, please visit the GWR website.
James Price, Transport for Wales CEO, said:
“We’ve committed to ambitious plans at TfW to develop the South Wales Metro and it’s fundamental that we continue to move forward with our delivery. The work that will take place during this festive period is a major step towards delivering faster, more frequent and greener services between Cardiff and the heads of the valleys. “We’re also working closely with our partners Network Rail as they undertake vital work throughout the Wales and Borders network to ensure rail services continue to be safe and reliable.
“I’d like to thank all our customers and railway neighbours for their patience and urge those who need to travel to plan ahead.”
Bill Kelly, Wales and Borders route director at Network Rail, said:
“The refurbishment work we are doing over the festive period is vital to the long-term future of the railway in Wales.
“We are hoping to minimise disruption for passengers by carrying out much of the work on Christmas Day and Boxing Day – when there are no timetabled train services.”
“I want to thank passengers for their continued patience and remind them to plan their journeys in advance.”
Over the festive period, Transport for Wales will be working with British Transport Police on a joint operation to keep passengers safe. Operation Genesis will see extra officers and rail staff out across the network throughout December to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, as well as provide reassurance and personal safety advice to the public.
Transport for Wales train.
BTP Superintendent for Wales, Andy Morgan, said:
“We want to everyone to enjoy the festive season and we’ll be working closely with our partners to make sure everyone gets home safely.
“Rail is one of the safest ways to travel – but we see how alcohol can really affect judgement, people often take greater risks, and standards of decency and general behaviour can worsen. We urge passengers to take extra care of themselves and others during this period to make sure they have a safe journey and take responsibility for their own behaviour.
“As well as having extra officers on hand across the network, we want to remind passengers of our discreet text service. Save the number ‘61016’ in your phone, in case you ever need our assistance on the railway.”
This article first appeared on www.railadvent.co.uk
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