Cardiff Central Railway Station
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Cardiff Central Railway Station
Cardiff Central National Rail
Welsh: Caerdydd Canolog
Cardiff Central station (26526139271).jpg
1930s frontage of Cardiff Central station (northern entrance)
Location
PlaceCardiff
Local authorityCity and County of Cardiff
Coordinates51°28?32?N 3°10?41?W / 51.4755°N 3.1780°W / 51.4755; -3.1780Coordinates: 51°28?32?N 3°10?41?W / 51.4755°N 3.1780°W / 51.4755; -3.1780
Grid referenceST181758
Operations
Station codeCDF
Managed byTransport for Wales
Owned byNetwork Rail
Number of platforms8
DfT categoryA
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2014/15Increase 11.939 million
- Interchange Increase 1.755 million
2015/16Increase 12.745 million
- Interchange Increase 1.853 million
2016/17Decrease 12.535 million
- Interchange Increase 1.901 million
2017/18Increase 12.952 million
- Interchange Increase 1.949 million
2018/19Increase 14.205 million
- Interchange Increase 2.187 million
History
19 June 1850Opened as Cardiff
1896Enlarged
1924Renamed Cardiff General
1931-34Rebuilt
1940Merged with Cardiff Riverside station
1964Riverside platforms closed
1973Renamed Cardiff Central
National Rail - UK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Cardiff Central from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.

Cardiff Central railway station (Welsh: Caerdydd Canolog, formerly Cardiff General) is a major station on the South Wales Main Line, located in the capital of Wales, Cardiff. It is one of the city's two urban rail network hubs, along with Cardiff Queen Street.

The station is located at Central Square, in Cardiff city centre. The Grade II listed building is managed by Transport for Wales, and is both the largest and busiest station in Wales.[1]

Cardiff Central is one of twenty railway stations in the city and one of two in the city centre, serving as a hub for the Valleys & Cardiff Local Routes. It is an interchange for services between South and West Wales, as well as other major British cities.

Transport for Wales operates services to most destinations in Wales and to Manchester; while CrossCountry operates trains to Gloucester, Birmingham and Nottingham. Great Western Railway runs all London Paddington intercity services via Bristol and to Swansea, as well as some regional services to Bath, Taunton and Portsmouth via Southampton;

History

Early history

In the early 1840s the South Wales Railway was trying to find a suitable site for a railway station, but the area that is now Cardiff Central railway station was prone to flooding. It was Isambard Kingdom Brunel's solution to divert the River Taff to the west, creating a larger and safer site for the station.[2] The initial part of the South Wales Railway between Chepstow and Swansea through Cardiff was opened on 18 June 1850, with all trains operated by the Great Western Railway (GWR) under a lease agreement.[3][page needed] Through services from Cardiff to London Paddington began on 19 July 1852, when the Chepstow Railway Bridge was opened, completing the connection between the South Wales Railway and the Great Western Railway. The South Wales Railway was absorbed into the GWR in 1863.[4]

The South Wales Railway had originally been built as a broad-gauge railway, but on the weekend of 11-12 May 1872, the entire South Wales system was converted to standard gauge.[4]

Cardiff to London trains originally ran via the circuitous route via Gloucester and took an average of five hours. This was reduced to around four hours from 1886 when the Severn Tunnel was opened creating a shorter route via Bristol and Bath. In 1903 another shortcut, the Badminton railway line was opened, bypassing Bath and Bristol, and this reduced the Cardiff-London journey times by another hour. By the 1930s, the fastest Cardiff-London trains took around 2 hours 40 minutes, and this remained fairly static until 1961, when the diesel Blue Pullman service reduced the fastest journey time to 2 hours 7 minutes. In October 1976 the current InterCity 125 service was introduced, reducing the fastest journey times to 1 hour 53 minutes.[5]

The original 'Cardiff' station as it was then known had four through tracks running through the site, and consisted of two through platforms each with its own bay platform. During the 1890s the station underwent considerable expansion, in 1896 a flying junction was constructed connecting the station to nearby Cardiff Queen Street station, and extra platforms were added to accommodate the new Taff Vale services, bringing the total number up to six.[6]

Initially named Cardiff, the station was renamed Cardiff General in July 1924 and then Cardiff Central by British Rail in May 1973.[7][8]

1930s rebuild

The interior of the concourse looking west

Between 1931 and 1934, the station underwent a major rebuild, designed by the GWR's architects department under their chief architect Percy Emerson Culverhouse, the centrepiece of this was a new Art Deco entrance building faced in Portland stone, containing a booking hall and concourse with noted Art Deco light fittings, all topped by a clock cupola.[9] The current Art Deco lamps in the booking hall are replicas of the originals, installed in 1999, having been funded by the Railway Heritage Trust. A GWR war memorial is located at the eastern end of the concourse.[10] The Great Western Railway has its full name carved onto the façade (larger than the name of the station). The rebuild also saw a number of other improvements including the lengthening of the platforms, the widening of the Taff River railway bridge to allow the approach lines to the station to be quadrupled, and the installation of colour-light signalling. The rebuild of the station cost the GWR £820,000 (equivalent to £58,640,000 in 2019),[11], and was formally opened by the then Minister of Transport Oliver Stanley on 26 February 1934.[6]

In July 1934, the GWR began a pioneering diesel railcar service with a buffet between Cardiff General and Birmingham Snow Hill which had only two stops at Newport and Gloucester. This was the first long distance diesel express service in Britain, covering the 117.5 miles (189.1 km) between Cardiff and Birmingham in 2 hours 20 minutes. It proved so successful that larger railcars with more seating and no buffet had to be introduced to cope with demand, and even this had to be augmented by a normal locomotive hauled service. During the Second World War, two such trains ran to and from Cardiff daily. At this time it consisted of a three car train consisting of a standard carriage sandwiched between two railcars, and a stop at Stratford-upon-Avon was introduced.[12][13][14][15]

As a result of representations by the GWR, a nearby working-class district, Temperance Town, was cleared during the late 1930s in order to improve the outlook of the rebuilt station.[16]

In 1992, the station, its entrances and platforms, became Grade II listed.[17]

Cardiff Riverside Junction railway station

Cardiff Riverside railway station in 1993, shortly before demolition.

On 14 August 1893 the GWR opened the adjacent Cardiff Riverside Junction station which had two platforms located to the south of and adjacent to the main Cardiff station which curved away to the south on the Cardiff Riverside Branch, which ran to its terminus at Clarence Road about one mile to the south. Riverside station was rebuilt as an island platform with two platform faces in the early 1930s at the same time as Cardiff General was being rebuilt. On 28 October 1940 Riverside station was formally incorporated into Cardiff General station with its platforms being designated 8 and 9. The Riverside platforms were closed for passenger use on 16 March 1964, but they continued to be used for parcels and newspaper traffic for a number of years after.[6] They were demolished in 1994 after becoming disused.[18][10]

21st century redevelopment

In 2011 it was announced that Cardiff Central would be enhanced with a new platform ('Platform 8') and a new two-storey southern entrance and booking hall. This was part of a £200m regeneration scheme to boost train capacity in Cardiff and the surrounding areas. Work started from June 2014. The Assembly Government committed £7m for the overall enhancements programme[19]

The old Grade II listed Water Tower (next to Platform 0 and the River Taff) was repainted in 2012 in the original brown and beige colours of the Great Western Railway.[20]

In June 2010, Network Rail began its £5 billion Great Western electrification project which promised the construction of overhead line equipment, station improvements, and resignalling along parts of the Great Western Main Line and the South Wales Main Line. The changes would see the retirement of InterCity 125 trains on London services, and the introduction of Hitachi-designed British Rail Class 800 electric trains, under a side project named the Intercity Express Programme.

The new southern entrance and booking hall, opened in 2015

The new entrance on the south side of the station, was opened in September 2015,[21] and the new platform 8 on the south side of the station, opened in January 2017, allowing the number of trains on the busy Cardiff Central to Cardiff Queen Street corridor to be increased from 12 to 16 per hour. This was opened in conjunction with a resignalling scheme in the station, which saw all of the station's platforms signalled to become bi-directional, in order to increase the flexibility of the operations.[22][23]

As part of the redevelopment scheme work began in 2015 on a new public square called Central Square in front of the main station entrance, which will include new office, residential and retail space.[24]

In 2015, plans were unveiled to substantially redevelop the station in order to cope with the expected rise in passenger numbers, which are projected to rise from the current 13 million to 32 million by 2043.[25] The proposed redevelopment would see an enlarged glass fronted concourse which would leave the current 1930s façade intact.[26]

One Central Square opened in 2016 for tenants including Blake Morgan LLP and Julian Hodge Bank.[27] Two Central Square also opened in 2016 with tenants including Hugh James LLP and the Cardiff School of Journalism.[28]

Plans to install overhead equipment as far as Swansea were withdrawn in 2017 when the Department for Transport announced it would no longer fund the Cardiff-Swansea project, instead ordering bi-mode trains which switch to diesel when departing Cardiff for west Wales.[29] Electrification to Cardiff was to be completed by 2018, but late that year Network Rail announced that completion would be delayed a further year.[30]

It was announced in July 2019 that significant upgrades would take place at Cardiff Central under a £38m improvement project, which also proposes a £20m West Wales Parkway station north of Swansea in order to reduce journey times between Cardiff and West Wales.[25]

Additional ticket barriers were installed in the main entrance of the station in November 2019 as part of plans to reduce congestion at the station at peak times. A study found that the station can see over 40,000 people use the station on major event days in the city. The work was funded by Transport for Wales, who also aim to refurbish toilets, install more ticket machines, phone charging points, and build cycle storage in 2020.[31] Cardiff Central's customer numbers are forecast to top 34 million users annually by 2043.[31]

In 2019 BBC Wales moved into Three Central Square, directly opposite the main terminal building.[32] That same year, Cardiff Council confirmed the Cardiff Transport Interchange will be built by 2023, located adjacent to the BBC as a replacement for Cardiff Central bus station.[33]

In January 2020, Transport for Wales installed a dedicated passenger assistance meeting point in the ticket hall of the station, stating it would provide a comfortable and identifiable location for those needing assistance to wait while their booked assistance is prepared, for example the preparation of boarding aids.[34]

The first electric services began at Cardiff Central in January 2020, starting with a single 5-car Class 800 forming the 08:50 Cardiff to London as of January trains have remained unable to operate on electric power through the Severn Tunnel.[35] This has been attributed to difficult operating conditions in the 133-year-old tunnel.[36]

Station layout and platforms

Layout plan of Cardiff Central

There are two entrances to the station. The northern main entrance leads to the main concourse and is on Central Square. The Millennium Stadium is a short distance to the northwest.[37]

The southern entrance is at the rear of the station on Tresillian Way, accessed from Penarth Road, where the station car park is found.

The railway lines are above the station concourses. Two subways, one each at the eastern and western side of the station, run parallel under the tracks linking the two main entrances, from which the platforms are accessed by stairs and lifts, with the exception of Platform 0 which is accessed from the main concourse near Marks and Spencer.

1930s signage to platforms, indicating the now non-existent platform 5

Cardiff Central has eight platforms, numbered 0, 1, 2, 3a/b, 4a/b, 6, 7 and 8. There is no longer, despite signage, a Platform 5; this was a west-facing bay platform situated between Platforms 3 and 4 which was removed in the 1960s.[39][40] Platform 0, a short through platform at the north of the station was created in 1999.[10][23]

Platforms 3 and 4 are divided into 'A' and 'B' sections and are capable of holding two local trains or a nine car Class 800 train. Other platforms can be used by more than one train, but are not sectioned.

Platforms 6 to 8 at the south side of the station are used by Valley Lines trains between Cardiff Queen Street, the north of Cardiff, the Valleys, and the Vale of Glamorgan.

Platforms 0 to 4 are typically used by longer distance regional and national services operated by Transport for Wales, Great Western Railway, and CrossCountry to destinations including Birmingham New Street, Bristol Temple Meads, Carmarthen, Derby, Gloucester, London Paddington, Manchester Piccadilly, Milford Haven, Portsmouth Harbour, Swansea and North Wales.

Facilities

The majority of facilities are in the main concourse, including ticket desks and machines, cash machines, an information desk, departure and arrival screens, public telephones, a newsagent, and food shops. The station has the only First Class waiting room in Wales.[41][42] Outside, an pay-and-display car park provides 248 spaces.[43]

British Transport Police maintains a presence at Cardiff Central.[44]

Services

Map of the south-east Wales rail network

Three train operators run services to Cardiff Central, a summary is as follows:

Routes

Incidents

On 4 May 1998, eleven wagons of freight train which was carrying iron ore from Port Talbot derailed just east of the station, causing substantial damage to the track, as well as blocking the main line into the station. This caused enormous disruption to the services which lasted for several days. No-one however was injured in the incident.[45][46]

To the east of the platforms, the Valley Lines tracks rise up and cross over the South Wales Main Line using a bridge. Rail services were severely disrupted in August 2012 when the retaining wall between the tracks partially collapsed, spilling five tonnes of earth. The South Wales Main Line was swiftly reopened, but all services between Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queen Street were cancelled, with a replacement bus service operating. It was expected that repairs could take two weeks.[47][48] There were worries that the bronze medal match in the 2012 Summer Olympics men's football competition, held at the nearby Cardiff Millennium Stadium could be disrupted, but most fans were due to arrive by the main line rather than the Valley Lines.[49] There had been severe congestion at the station earlier in the month due to another Olympic match.[50]

In December 2016, a serious accident was narrowly averted by the alertness of a driver. During the Cardiff Area Resignalling Scheme, a set of points had been left in an unsafe condition, and undetectable by the signalling system. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch report into the incident revealed that lessons learnt following the Clapham Junction rail crash in December 1988 appeared to have been forgotten. Excessive working hours and a lack of detailed planning were cited as contributory factors.[51]

See also

References

  1. ^ Shuttleworth, Peter (11 December 2018). "Why Wales' quietest station got busier". Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ "Cardiff Arms Park, A short History - The Creation of the Arms Park". Cardiff Council. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 2008.
  3. ^ MacDermot, E.T. (1927). History of the Great Western Railway, volume I 1833-1863. London: Great Western Railway.
  4. ^ a b Walters 1995, pp. 9-10.
  5. ^ Walters 1995, pp. 18-20.
  6. ^ a b c Walters 1995, pp. 63-71.
  7. ^ Butt, R.J.V. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 53.
  8. ^ "Cardiff Timeline". Archived from the original on 29 September 2007.
  9. ^ "Cardiff General Railway Station, Cardiff". Coflein. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. Retrieved 2013.
  10. ^ a b c "Cardiff Central rail station". History Points. Retrieved 2018.
  11. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 2020.
  12. ^ "Great Western railcars". The Great Western Archive. Retrieved 2017.
  13. ^ "Stratford on Avon Station: An unidentified Great Western Railway Diesel Railcar is seen passing Stratford on Avon West Signal Box on the up 9:10am Cardiff to Snow Hill service". www.warwickshirerailways.com.
  14. ^ "Stratford on Avon Station: GWR Diesel Railcars W37 W and W38 W are seen with a Third class coach in between departing on the up 5:05pm Cardiff to Birmingham service". www.warwickshirerailways.com.
  15. ^ Boynton, John (1994). Shakespeare's Railways. Mid England Books. ISBN 0-9522248-1-X.
  16. ^ Fisk, Stephen (June 2009). "Abandoned Communities - Temperance Town". Retrieved 2009.
  17. ^ "Cardiff Central Station, Booking Hall, Passenger Subway, Platforms 1-4, 6 & 7 and Platform Buildings". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 2013.
  18. ^ Walters 1995, p. 82.
  19. ^ Law, Peter (9 February 2011). "Cardiff rail stations set for revamp". South Wales Echo.
  20. ^ "Cardiff Central's landmark water tower renovation starts - without a daffodil in sight". Wales Online. 19 June 2012. Retrieved 2014.
  21. ^ "Wales Office Minister visits new entrance which gives passengers more room at Cardiff Central station". Network Rail Media Centre. 22 September 2015. Retrieved 2018.
  22. ^ "UK: Cardiff Central station expanded with new platform". Railway Pro. Retrieved 2018.
  23. ^ a b "Cardiff resignalled". RailEngineer. Retrieved 2018.
  24. ^ "Cardiff's new Central Square development: An Exclusive glimpse at the dramatic overhaul planned for the heart of the capital". Wales Online. 26 February 2015. Retrieved 2018.
  25. ^ a b "Wales' busiest railway station to get £58m upgrade". 22 July 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  26. ^ "New plans to transform Cardiff Central Railway Station revealed". Wales Online. 28 July 2015. Retrieved 2018.
  27. ^ Barry, Sion (15 December 2015). "Julian Hodge Bank to move headquarters to Central Square". walesonline. Retrieved 2020.
  28. ^ Barry, Sion; Pyke, Chris (28 August 2018). "The latest timetable for the buildings in Cardiff's Central Square". walesonline. Retrieved 2020.
  29. ^ "Sheffield, Swansea and Windermere electrification cancelled". Railway Gazette. 20 July 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  30. ^ "Rail electrification to south Wales delayed". Wales Online. 6 July 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  31. ^ a b Sketchley, Elisha (11 November 2019). "Refurbishment of Cardiff Central to continue with new gates". Planning, BIM & Construction Today. Retrieved 2020.
  32. ^ Wilson, Rob. "BBC Wales moves into Sheppard Robson-designed broadcast facility". Architects Journal. Retrieved 2020.
  33. ^ "ISG secures £89 million Cardiff transport interchange project". 3 December 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  34. ^ 2020-01-08T06:00:00+00:00. "Passenger assistance meeting points provided at Cardiff Central". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 2020.
  35. ^ "A bit of history at Cardiff Central this morning". Dai Lygad and Ally McMurdo via Twitter. 5 January 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  36. ^ Shuttleworth, Peter (28 June 2019). "Tunnel blow to £2.8bn rail electrification scheme". Retrieved 2020.
  37. ^ "Cardiff Central Station view". Google Maps.
  38. ^ "Route Plans 2008 - Route 15, South Wales Valleys" (PDF). Network Rail. p. 10.
  39. ^ Potential reinstatement of this platform is mentioned on page 10 of Network Rail's route plan for the Valley Lines[38]
  40. ^ Walters 1995, p. 80.
  41. ^ "First Class". First Great Western.
  42. ^ "First Class Lounges at Major Train Stations". Virgin Trains. Archived from the original on 19 August 2015. Retrieved 2010.
  43. ^ "Cardiff Central (CDF)". National Rail.
  44. ^ "British Transport Police, Wales & Western Area". Archived from the original on 25 December 2013.
  45. ^ "Train accident causes travel chaos". BBC News. 4 May 1998. Retrieved 2018.
  46. ^ "Derailment of Iron Ore train at Cardiff May 1998 with 56083". YouTube. Mike Wilcock. Retrieved 2018.
  47. ^ "Cardiff rail disruption 'to continue' after wall breaks". BBC News. BBC. 11 August 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  48. ^ "Cardiff rail services disruption after wall collapse". BBC News. BBC. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  49. ^ "Cardiff wall collapse causes rail delays". BBC News. BBC. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  50. ^ "Olympic football: Team GB Cardiff quarter-final attracts thousands". BBC News. BBC. 5 August 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  51. ^ "Serious irregularity at Cardiff East Junction 29 December 2016" (PDF). Rail Accident Investigation Branch. Retrieved 2017.

Bibliography

  • Walters, Laurence (1995). Railways of Cardiff. Addlestone: Ian Allan Ltd. ISBN 0-7110-2380-8.

Further reading

External links

Media related to Cardiff Central railway station at Wikimedia Commons


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