Ken Skates MS, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales
Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport
Our Metros will change the way we travel by creating modern, sustainable bus, rail and cycling and walking networks, creating a range of work and leisure opportunities while reducing the environmental impact of our transport network. They will play a critical role in delivering the priorities and objectives of our ambitious new transport strategy, Y Llwybr Newydd.
Customers on our Metros in North, South, and Swansea Bay and West Wales can expect a network of routes and interchanges that offer faster, more frequent and reliable services on more comfortable, accessible, and greener vehicles.
Each of the Metro networks are at different stages of development and we’re working collaboratively with communities to meet local needs and regional priorities, while meeting our obligations for future generations
This statement provides an overview of the progress that we’ve made so far and our future plans.
In North Wales, we have put in place the foundations for transformative rail and bus services and active travel, including introducing new services between Liverpool and North Wales. Alongside reducing rural isolation and opening-up job, business and leisure opportunities across North Wales, these plans will also play a vital part in developing the region’s wider economy as well as a more sustainable future for tourism in North Wales.
Later this year, we will be introducing fully rebuilt Metro trains on the Borderlands Line from Wrexham, providing a faster service and more capacity, as well as improved on-board facilities. We are well advanced with plans to improve our stations, making it easier to change between rail and bus at Wrexham General station, and between the North Wales Coast and Borderlands Line services at Shotton, supporting our plans to improve public transport to, from, and within Deeside Industrial Park and the wider Deeside Enterprise Zone.
In Swansea Bay and West Wales, we will be introducing new trains on services through the Swansea Bay area from 2022, increasing capacity on services to West Wales and between South West Wales and Manchester. We are also developing options for additional and faster intercity mainline services, serving a new committed station at St Clears and local services from Swansea to Milford Haven and Pembroke Dock. These will be complemented by a comprehensive, high frequency bus network serving urban areas in Swansea, Neath, Llanelli, and Port Talbot. The Transforming Towns project in Haverfordwest is supporting a range of local active travel options. We also want to develop urban area rail services and new stations, including Pontarddulais to Neath and Swansea, and Burry Port to Swansea.
This week we announced a public consultation on the Swansea Bay and West Wales Metro. This is everyone’s opportunity to inform our plans for improving public transport services across the region.
Finally, a significant amount of work is already being undertaken on the South Wales Metro to upgrade the rail network, public transport hubs, and active travel routes. We’re upgrading and electrifying the railway lines to Aberdare, Coryton, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhymney and Treherbert, building a new bus interchange in Cardiff, and improving active travel links across the region, making it easier for people to travel to and around the Cardiff Capital Region.
We’ve already started work on the South Wales Metro, with the construction of a new £100 million depot and Metro Control Centre at Taff’s Well, home to our new Metro to deliver more weekday and Sunday services. For example, from 2022, new tram-trains which will provide a turn-up-and-go service on the Treherbert, Merthyr and Aberdare lines. Cardiff’s new multi-modal transport interchange at the heart of the Metro will include signficnat improvements to Cardiff Central Station and the brand-new Cardiff bus interchange as well as on-street bus stops, taxi, active travel provision and the Cardiff Bay link.
Across the whole of Wales, the Welsh Government is investing £800 million in new trains across Wales and the borders including our three Metros in North, South, and Swansea Bay and West Wales. We are currently reviewing our bus networks with local authorities and industry partners to develop more effective and efficient services as part of a comprehensive and integrated public transport network. Our transport interchanges are being improved to provide customers with a more enjoyable experience and safer environment while a seamless smart ticketing system across Wales will simplify fares and ensure the best possible price across all modes of transport.
Our Metros will create opportunities that enable people in Wales to connect with each other, their community, jobs, and services boosting the economy, addressing inequalities, and supporting our decarbonisation obligations.