The service is planned to start in 2025 with the timetable that begins in December 2024. It will also stop at Cardiff Parkway when it opens. Investment in Severn Tunnel Junction station is planned to provide much improved passenger facilities and to allow direct access from the adjacent M4 motorway.using new build bi-mode trains which can operate under electric or diesel power, as not all of the route is electrified.
Ian Yeowart, Grand Union’s Managing Director said: “It is great news for passengers who may have the opportunity to use our services, and one only has to look at what happens now on the East Coast Main Line (ECML), where there are 3 competing operators, to see the significant benefits that arise when operators face some competition.
We are acutely aware of the difficulties faced by the ORR in determining these applications, and previous ORR decisions have significantly benefited many users on the ECML.
We expect to be able to bring those benefits to the Great Western Main Line”.He continued: “The very significant support we have received from the Welsh Government and all areas of South and West Wales has been very important in promoting the value of the service and we are grateful for the cross party support we have had from members of the Senedd and Westminster and from a number of local authorities”.
We look forward to continuing our work with partners and colleagues as we plan for the introduction of this new service.
The service will create passenger choice where there is currently none, increase service frequency and open up new journey opportunities, providing faster and improved connectivity for southwest Wales.
Services will be operated by new build bi-mode trains operating between Carmarthen and London, calling at Llanelli then a new parkway station at Parc Felindre, Cardiff Central, Newport, an upgraded Severn Tunnel Junction then Bristol Parkway before operating non-stop onwards to London
The use of Parc Felindre as a parkway station for Swansea will reduce journey times between these parts of southwest Wales and Cardiff and London by around 20 minutes.
The new station at Parc Felindre will be close to the M4 motorway providing an attractive park and ride facility for around 500 vehicles.
Grand Union will not receive subsidies from public funds, unlike other operators on the route and will operate like Hull Trains and Lumo who run without subsidy from the DfT.
The company is proposing to partner with Renfe, the leading railway operator in Spain, to operate the services, with financial backing from Spanish private equity firm Serena Industrial Partners.