Rhondda trains: 'Unacceptable' to close Pontypridd to Treherbert line for eight months

Much of the work to be done on the Treherbert line will replace "mid-19th century" technology. Credit: PA

A decision to close a Rhondda railway line for eight months has been branded as "unacceptable" and "indefensible" for people living in the area.

Transport for Wales has announced the Pontypridd to Treherbert line will be closed from 30 April 2023 until early 2024, saying the "sheer scale of work" needed to modernise the route means it has to close.

As one of the major South Wales railway lines, many communities in the valleys will be left without train services until next year.

The Welsh Conservative Shadow Transport Minister Natasha Asghar MS commented that "the people of the Rhondda deserve better," questioning why the line could not be upgraded and electrified in a "phased way".

A mockup of the new South Wales Metro trains.

Meanwhile, The Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for Transport, Lee Waters, has urged passengers to "please bear with us."

In a statement following the announcement by TfW, Conservative Shadow Transport Minister, Natasha Asghar MS said: “This long closure of the route is completely unacceptable and the short notice is indefensible. This all comes whilst the Welsh Government are encouraging commuters to use public transport, following their road building ban.

“The minister must explain why this line cannot be upgraded and electrified in a phased way in order to maintain some services and reduce disruption to a minimum. This has been done on all other valley lines.

“People in the Rhondda will be forced off the railways by Labour-run Transport for Wales, yet their alternatives are a crumbling road network and an underfunded bus network."

Transport for Wales says that the Treherbert line has some of the oldest equipment and infrastructure across the entire Core Valley Lines, dating back to early 1930’s.

The current signalling system will be removed and replaced with a more modern one as part of the South Wales Metro project Credit: Transport for Wales

During the line's transformation, TfW will be offering 50% off the cost of travel for people living in the Rhondda.

A rail replacement bus service throughout the Rhondda will include a bus service every half hour, with a school service and an ‘express service’ during peak AM times, according to TfW.

Karl Gilmore, Rail Infrastructure Director for Transport for Wales said he understood the project will be hugely "inconvenient" while the line is closed, but highlighted the proposed upside of the development.

He said: “Transforming the dated railway line and bringing it right up-to-date will allow us to run more frequent and greener services, giving the people of the Rhondda a rail service they deserve."

The Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for Transport, Lee Waters said: “This is a massive investment that will make a huge difference to all passengers.

"There will inevitably be disruption and inconvenience in the short term but it will bring an enormous improvement.

"Please bear with us, it will be worth it.”

TfW said journey planning tools will be updated with the bus replacement information from 28 March.