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Proposed new rail link to cut Cardiff-London journey time

Credit: PA Images

Journey times between Cardiff and London could be cut by 20 minutes if plans for a new service get the go ahead.

Grand Union Trains want to introduce the new service by the end of next year.

The proposed service, which would start operating late 2020, would run from Cardiff Central to Newport, Severn Tunnel Junction and Bristol Parkway, then express to London Paddington. It will also stop at Cardiff Parkway when it opens.

The new service is also expected to create around 135 new and permanent full-time jobs, most of which will be based in South Wales.

“We are working to provide a competitive train service between Cardiff and London, providing passengers with greater choice and increasing service provision on this important route for Wales.

“This route has been monopolised by the incumbent franchised operator since 1996, but Open Access allows new services to be developed, meaning passengers and local business can enjoy the benefits promised by privatisation.

“Our trains will provide the very best on-board experience, with more leg-room compared to other train providers, free wi-fi, a good choice of catering, on-board ticket sales at a fair price and a full complement of safety-trained staff including train guards.”

– Ian Yeowart, Managing Director, Grand Union Trains

The company say they'll offer passengers a 50% discount on their ticket if they're unable to find a seat on the proposed new service.

Under track access rules, other rail operators are able to provide a service if a route is not deemed congested, and the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) approves an application. The application will now be subject to a 28 day consultation period before it is forwarded to the ORR.

The Welsh Government welcomes the ambition being shown by Grand Union Trains to address this by proposing the operation of a new, fast, limited stop, high quality service which would provide an alternative option for passengers to travel between the two capital cities.

We call on the UK Government to offer similar support for this service that would deliver significant benefits to the economy, the environment, and to travellers on both sides of the border.

– Ken Skates AM, Minister for the Economy and Transport