£100 Million Cardiff Tram-Train Line Inches Closer to Reality as Council Nears Build Partner Appointment

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In a significant stride towards enhancing Cardiff’s public transport infrastructure, plans for a tram-train line in the Welsh capital are poised to take a substantial leap forward with the imminent appointment of a design and build partner. Members of the Cardiff Council cabinet are scheduled to convene on Thursday, March 21, where they will consider and potentially endorse a proposal to procure and appoint a delivery partner for the inaugural phase of the Cardiff Crossrail initiative.

This ambitious multimillion-pound transport endeavour envisages the establishment of a tram-train line that will eventually span from the northwest to the east of the city. The initial phase will focus on the development of the tram-train line connecting Cardiff Central and Cardiff Bay railway stations, heralding a new era of connectivity and accessibility for residents and commuters alike.

A spokesperson for Cardiff Council expressed enthusiasm about the project, stating, “The Crossrail has been a long-held ambition to provide a cross-city tram service that is affordable and reliable for the public to use, and to connect some of Cardiff’s poorest communities to the rail network for the first time.” They further highlighted the significance of the first phase in bolstering connectivity, particularly for the community of Butetown, emphasising that it will ensure proper integration with the city centre.

Moreover, the spokesperson underscored the project’s potential to stimulate economic activity, generate employment opportunities in construction and operation, and afford residents of Butetown enhanced travel options for both professional and recreational purposes. The social value of the contract, they noted, will be elucidated upon receipt and evaluation of bids from prospective contractors.

Anticipating the expansion of the route beyond its initial phase, the spokesperson articulated plans for future extensions to the east or south, which would further augment the city’s public transportation network, providing a reliable and cost-effective mode of travel for the populace.

In January 2023, Cardiff Council, in collaboration with Transport for Wales (TfW), secured £100 million in funding for the Cardiff Crossrail project. This financial backing comprises £50 million from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund and a matching contribution of £50 million from the Welsh Government, setting the stage for the project’s realization.

However, with allocated funds subject to specific timelines, meticulous planning and execution are imperative. The £50 million allocated by the UK Government must be utilised by mid-2026, while the Welsh Government’s £50 million will be disbursed in four annual instalments of £12.5 million commencing from 2026. To adhere to these stipulations, the project has been segmented into two delivery phases.

Phase 1a: Fully funded and earmarked for immediate action, this phase entails substantial infrastructure redevelopment, including the overhaul of the highway network around Callaghan Square to facilitate seamless integration of the tram-train with the existing Cardiff Bay train line. Additionally, plans include the construction of a new tram-train platform at Cardiff Central, the establishment of a new public realm in front of Callaghan Square, and the implementation of a segregated cycleway to enhance connectivity between Cardiff Central and Callaghan Square, integrating with the wider strategic network.

Phase 1b: While not presently funded, this phase is pivotal for the project’s expansion. It encompasses the reconfiguration of the highway network around Flourish and Pierhead Street to accommodate an extension of the tram track. Furthermore, it entails the provision of enhanced facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, such as new crossing facilities and a segregated cycleway linking Roald Dahl Plass with the forthcoming indoor arena development.

Looking ahead, an outline business case for Phase One of Cardiff Crossrail is slated for submission to the UK Government in April 2024, coinciding with plans for public consultation in autumn 2024. Simultaneously, enabling works are scheduled to commence, setting the groundwork for subsequent phases. A comprehensive business case is expected to follow in winter 2024, with construction tentatively commencing by summer or autumn 2025, contingent upon further cabinet approval to award the tender for the project.

As Cardiff prepares to embark on this transformative journey towards bolstering its transportation infrastructure, the Cardiff Crossrail project stands as a testament to the city’s commitment to fostering sustainable development, enhancing connectivity, and improving the quality of life for its residents.

Lauren Redford
Lauren Redfordhttps://newswriteups.com/
Journalist Lauren Redford is a seasoned business journalist who focuses on regional areas throughout the United Kingdom. With her expertise and dedication, Lauren brings insightful coverage of local communities and their economic landscapes. With a meticulous approach and a passion for storytelling, she uncovers stories that resonate with readers and offers a deeper understanding of the business world. Lauren's commitment to delivering accurate and engaging news makes her a valuable member of the News Write Ups team. lauren@newswriteups.com

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