Western Gateway Partnership, in collaboration with Transport for Wales and the Western Gateway Sub-National Transport Body unveiled the Western Gateway Rail Vision 2050 for a better network, services and stations.
The strategy shows how South Wales and the Western England areas could nearly halve current journey times in between cities in the area and drastically improve journeys to London and elsewhere in the UK.
The strategy provides the opportunity to unlock huge potential with relatively small investment. It is estimated to cost between GBP 1 billion (EUR 1.1 billion) and GBP 2 billion (EUR 2.27 billion) in the short term and an additional GBP 7 billion (EUR 7.9 billion) to GBP 8 billion (EUR 9 billion) up to 2050. “This is compared to HS2 which, due to delays, has been estimated to cost over GBP 100 billion (EUR 113.7 billion),” the Vice Chair of the Western Gateway Partnership, Cllr Jane Mudd, said.
The Western Gateway Rail Vision 2050 promotes increasing capacity to allow up to four trains per hour between Bristol and Cardiff reducing journey times between the cities from 50 to 30 minutes. It also suggests that journey times between Swansea and Bristol could be dramatically reduced from one hour and a half, once an hour, to 60 minutes with three trains an hour, through funding Transport for Wales proposed improvements to the South Wales Main Line and upgrading the Severn crossing.
The Western Gateway is the Pan Regional Partnership for South Wales and Western England. Made up of local authorities, businesses and universities from across the area, the partnership aims to overcome productivity hurdles to add GBP 34 billion (EUR 38.6 billion) to the economy and power efforts to reach Net Zero.
With ongoing national investment in rail services elsewhere in the UK, leaders and businesses have teamed up to make sure the area is not left behind.
“With 140,000 people crossing the Severn and over half the population of the UK living within two hours of the Western Gateway footprint, it is crucial that we develop good transport links which allow people to commute and travel smoothly throughout the region and beyond,” the Secretary of State for Wales, David TC Davies, said.