Page last updated at 11:24 GMT, Monday, 2 June 2008 12:24 UK

52m plan to cut rail congestion

Arriva Trains Wales train
A feasibility study will be undertaken on the plans

Details of 52m of improvements have been unveiled for the rail network in south Wales by the assembly government.

A total of 22m will be spent on a major revamp for Newport station, in time for the 2010 Ryder Cup.

The planned investment includes 30m towards extra carriages on congested services and new platforms, including four at Cardiff's Queen Street station.

Ministers say it will allow for more peak-time commuter services and meet increasing passenger numbers.

The 30m funding for Cardiff and the valleys is alongside Network Rail's 200m resignalling project in the Cardiff area.

The assembly government will contribute 7m towards the Cardiff and valleys programme, with the rest being paid for by the Department of Transport.

Four through platforms at Cardiff Queen St and a new bay platform for use by the Cardiff Bay shuttle
22m new Newport station buildings, footbridges, taxi area and new car parking spaces
An additional Valleys platform at Cardiff Central
Improving the City Line running between Radyr and Cardiff via Ninian Park
Extra platforms at Caerphilly, Pontypridd and Barry for turn-back of shorter-distance services
More track and signalling improvements at Barry and Cogan
Source: Welsh Assembly Government

Network Rail will pay 15m towards the Newport refurbishment and the assembly government the other 7.7m.

Ieuan Wyn Jones, Welsh transport minister, said: "It will improve capacity in our capital's major train stations and have benefits for the valleys by increasing the number of seats on trains and improving services.

Dave Ward, route director for Network Rail said: "Passengers are the real winners if the proposal goes ahead.

"Already, 67% of train journeys in Wales are within south Wales and this number is set to grow. This proposal could address the future demand, by easing capacity issues and improving train services."

The proposals aim to lead to an extra 900 seats at peak times for commuters using the Cardiff and valley services up to 2014.

Afterwards, the proposal aims to put on an extra two trains an hour during peak time on the Taff Vale and Rhymney routes, providing up to an additional 1,200 peak seats an hour.

Ieuan Wyn Jones said of the rebuilding programme for Newport that the station was the "passenger gateway" to both the city and south Wales.

"The impression it gives to both visitors and those who use it everyday is important - it must represent a modern, vibrant city," he said.

He added it would "add to the regeneration and revival of the city as it gets ready to host one of the world's premier sporting events, the Ryder Cup."

The announcement, which is subject to a feasibility study, comes in the wake of a Network Rail consultation document, proposing improvements over the next decade across Wales.

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