South East Wales

Arriva Trains Wales Cardiff trains to double capacity

Arriva Train

Capacity on the "busiest trains" into Cardiff will double from May, Arriva Trains Wales has said.

It will add an extra 600 seats a day for commuters into the Welsh capital after being criticised for having too many overcrowded trains.

Arriva Trains Wales, whose Wales and Borders franchise expires in 2018, is adding morning weekday services into Cardiff Central from Barry and Radyr.

Economy minister Ken Skates had said Arriva's profits were "too high."

The Wales and Borders franchise - which is one of the UK's most heavily subsidised, receiving between £110m-£160m a year - has seen passenger numbers rise from 18 million in 2003 to 30 million.

About 265,000 people use Cardiff Central station weekly and a BBC investigation found overcrowding in Cardiff stations during the morning commute was rising at a faster rate than anywhere else outside London, according to figures from the Department for Transport.

Image copyright Arriva Trains Wales
Image caption Arriva Trains Wales outline their additional services

Arriva Trains Wales now plans to add extra capacity and extra trains from 22 May on the following routes

  • 130 more seats from Barry to Cardiff Central (all stations except Grangetown) at 08:13 BST
  • 104 extra seats from Treherbert to Cardiff (all stations) at 06:47
  • 208 extra seats from Radyr to Cardiff via Llandaff at 07:50
  • 130 extra seats on the 06:32 Rhymney to Cardiff service
  • 130 extra seats on the 06:09 Rhymney to Cardiff service
  • An additional 104 seats on the 17:26 Merthyr service
  • New service - 07:52 Cardiff Central to Barry
  • New service - 08:13 Barry to Cardiff Central
  • New service - 07:57 Cardiff Central to Radyr via the City Line
  • New service - 08:13 Radyr-Cardiff Central via Llandaff

Arriva Trains Wales said the additional trains were "subject to railway approval processes" but the announcement is "one of the most significant improvements to valleys commuters in a decade".

It said to implement the changes, the operator "needed to remove one midday Penarth service and one midday Barry service".

The firm has a zero growth contract - which means it has the same number of trains it had when it began operations in 2003.

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Media captionIs there light at the end of the tunnel for Cardiff commuters?

It said the additions "would not have been possible" without Network Rail's recent £300m signalling upgrade works and new platform eight at Cardiff Central.

"This is one of the most significant improvements to valleys commuters in a decade, since the opening of the Ebbw Vale line," said Arriva Trains Wales customer services director, Lynne Milligan.

"With only a limited number of trains in our fleet and the lack of availability in the UK we have had to work hard to get the most from what we've got."

Network Rail Wales said "more trains are travelling through Cardiff than ever before".

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