A £220 million scheme has been launched by the Welsh Government in a bid to improve rail services on the Cardiff and Valleys’ railway.
The projects are due for completion by the end of 2015 and will see the delivery of vastly improved, more accessible facilities.
The development projects will target Cardiff Central Station and Queen Street Station which are the two busiest stations in Wales catering for almost 12.5 million passengers a year. The improvements will include a modern entrance building being constructed at Cardiff Central on the south side of the building, as well as the installation of new platforms and additional facilities.
A new entrance and two new platforms will be installed at Queen Street Station; a north-bound platform and a platform for Cardiff Bay services. In early 2014 building work began on the new station entrance at Cardiff Queen Street and works began on platform eight at Cardiff Central Station. Shortly building works will start on the new station entrance at the south side of Cardiff Central station.
Work is well underway at Queen Street Station to revamp the stations entrance to match the southern end and to on the project. Building work has begun on the station’s new entrance and the overall aim of the project is to reduce commuter stress.
Work to install the new platforms at the station began in Spring last year with the scheme set to be completed by the end of next year. The project will also involve the installation of electrification signalling which has been rolled out in other areas of the UK, including London, and Queen Street has been earmarked for extra funding to refurbish the station lifts. Network Rail aim to roll out electrification at all of the Cardiff and Valleys’ lines by 2019.
Mike Gallop, principal programme sponsor for Network Rail, said advancing South Wales’ railways is crucial to ensuring the country’s economy stays healthy:
“This scheme will take the railway in Cardiff and South Wales Valleys into the next frontier.The benefits of this scheme are huge as it lays the fundamental building blocks to unlock the untapped potential of this area, whilst paving the way for electrification and meeting a growing demand.”
The scheme – which includes the Cardiff Central regeneration project – aims to remove the rail bottleneck on the city line which will enable an extra four trains per hour to run through the Cardiff area.
Mark Langman, route managing director for Network Rail Wales, said:
“We need to expand today’s railway to cater for tomorrow’s needs, and we are getting ahead of the game. Through this investment, passengers will significantly benefit from the potential to run more services and a better performing railway, which is also vital to support Cardiff as a key economic centre for Wales.
“The city has the largest travelling workforce in Wales with around 37% of the workforce commuting from neighbouring authorities, in particular, from the Valleys. A large number of that workforce relies on rail and usage is expected to increase by 8% on average each year, adding further demand on an already-congested railway.
“On a network as busy as ours, this work is the equivalent of conducting open heart surgery on the railway whilst keeping daily services running with the minimum of disruption.”
Upper Cut Productions Ltd
Upper Cut Productions Ltd is a leading provider of remote aerial filming and photography in the UK, utilising helicam drones. The company works under the CAA’s BNUC-STM license – a legal requirement in the UK and Europe to undertake commercial aerial work – and can also offer video production packages, time lapse and virtual tours.
The company has been in operation since 2004 and within this time has worked with many prestigious clients, including the BBC, Google, Discovery Channel, Nikon, CAT, English Heritage and Network Rail, amongst others. Recent projects have included Battersea Bridge 6; the Link Road project at Wokingham Station; and Gatwick Platform 7.
Working on the Cardiff Central project, Upper Cut Productions Ltd have installed two fixed position time lapse cameras which are in operation throughout the entirety of the project.
Upper Cut Productions Ltd Managing Director, Chris Wilkinson, said:
“Working on rail projects we employ helicam drones as well conduct time lapse filming, ground based filming and photography.
“Working on projects like Cardiff Central, where we can use time lapse technology, is fantastic as it is one of the main elements of our business.”
“At Upper Cut Productions Ltd we pride ourselves on our perfectionist approach to every job and the quality of our output. We use the latest technology and equipment, along with our own creative skills, in order to achieve the best quality possible.”