Agenda item

Rail Update

Services to Bristol and Cardiff, Severn Tunnel Junction Development and Chepstow Station – Christian Schmidt, Transport Planning and Policy Officer


The Transport Projects and Programmes Manager provided an update on Rail focusing on the key items of trains, timetables and Chepstow Station, summarised as follows:

·         Some refurbished trains are now in service which has led to less cancellations.

·         An upgraded service to hourly is needed by 2022.  Monmouthshire CC (MCC) is trying to secure an hourly local service as soon as possible, then move to a half hourly service.  The vision of a turn up and go service (4 trains an hour) is some time away as there is insufficient demand currently.  MCC would welcome opportunities to put details of current demand to Welsh Government and Transport for Wales.

·         There is a Network Rail study into infrastructure on the South West train line.  No further information is available yet.  Any such studies are welcomed to ensure the optimum use of the lines to manage competing demands for extra services to Bristol, Lydney, Chepstow, Gloucester and Cheltenham. 

·         The need for trains from Chepstow to Bristol is a priority; at least two trains in the peak morning and peak afternoon periods.  It was agreed that there are timetable issues and suggested that they are looked at again.

·         It is hoped to establish a Park and Ride facility at Severn Tunnel Junction in the next financial year.  Next will be to look to develop parking for Magor, Abergavenny and Chepstow. No land has been purchased as yet, to develop a park and ride facility for Chepstow.  It was noted that a new housing development in the vicinity will complicate plans which might involve work on the Tesco junction.  Members agreed on the importance of linking bus access to trains.  However, concerns were expressed about the potential impact of moving the bus station on businesses in the town centre.  It was agreed to forward suggestions about the positioning of bus stops, the comments against moving the bus station, suggestions about use of existing car parks, use of units close to the station, Tesco’s land and the Racecourse for further consideration. 

·         Regarding the station infrastructure, plans to use the disused buildings have been put to Network Rail (Bristol) – no update to report.  A joint bid was made for Access for All funding. Whilst Abergavenny Station was successful with regard to its footbridge, unfortunately, Chepstow Station was not.  There is a commitment from the new franchise to invest in Chepstow Station but not until 2025.  Transport for Wales will work with us to develop the whole project and will resubmit unsuccessful bids to a new UK Government fund. The bid for Chepstow Station will to provide an accessible footbridge and lift.  It is hoped there will be an answer before the end of March.

·         Traffic congestion concerns are shared in Lydney and it would be preferable to have a co-ordinated, unfragmented approach. The removal of the tolls on the Prince of Wales Bridge has significantly impacted on traffic levels.  It was agreed that car usage must be reduced.  The Chepstow Transport Study will consider all these details at a high level.

·         Considering potential sites for park and ride facilities, a member of the public raised concerns about traffic at St. Arvans and Lionsgate roundabout related to use of the racecourse.  It was queried who owns the lay by, and agreed that clarification is needed.