- Transport in Wales
This article is about means of transport within
Rail links with England
Wales has numerous rail links with neighbouring England. The following companies currently operate passenger services.
First Great Western" operates these services from Wales to England:
**London Paddington to Swansea via Reading, Swindon, Bristol Parkway, Newport, Cardiff Central and Bridgend
***Every other peak service terminates at Cardiff Central
**Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour via Newport, Bristol Temple Meads, Bath Spa and Southampton Central
**Cardiff Central to Taunton via Newport,
Bristol Temple Meadsand Weston super Mare
Arriva Trains Wales" operates these services from Wales to England:
**Cardiff Central to Gloucester via Newport.
**Carmarthen to Manchester Piccadilly via Swansea, Bridgend, Cardiff Central, Newport, Abergavenny, Hereford, Shrewsbury and Crewe
***Some services begin from Cardiff Central
**Aberystwyth and Pwllheli to
Birmingham New Streetvia Dovey Junction, Machynlleth, Newtown, Shrewsbury, Telford Central and Wolverhampton
Swanseato Shrewsburyvia Llanelli, Llandeilo, Llandovery, Llandrindod Wells
**Cardiff Central to Nottingham via Newport, Gloucester, Cheltenham Spa, Birmingham New Street and Derby.
**Cardiff Central to Newcastle via Newport,
Bristol Temple Meads, Bristol Parkway, Birmingham New Street, Derby, Sheffield and York.
Virgin Trains" provides services from the North Wales:
London Eustonvia Bangor, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Chester, Crewe, Stafford, Nuneaton or Birmingham New Street, Rugby, Milton Keynes Central and Watford Junction.
A new Open Access company,
Wrexham & Shropshire, commenced direct services from Wrexham General, in North Wales, to London Marylebone on 28 April 2008, and has made plans to provide a North-South Link with Cardiff.
Arriva Trains Walesoperates all services within Wales. Until recently rail services on the main lines to the South Wales Valleyswere operated under the Valley Linesbrand but these have also been brought under the Arriva Trains Wales franchise.
Beeching Axeand the general decline in rail traffic afterward, Wales boasted a large rail network considering its small geographical area. It had five major links linking East Wales to West Wales, now reduced to only three. There were several rural lines linking many of Wales's towns, to meet important raw material industries such as the slate quarries of Blaenau Ffestiniog, or the coal mines of South Wales. Under Beeching, many rural lines in North Walesand Mid Wales, such as the Ruabon Barmouth Line, were demolished and it was planned for the North Wales Coast Lineto be a non-stop passenger service, effectively making it a service between Dublinand English cities. Beeching's destruction of the railway network although more limited than the original proposals split the railway network into three parts, connected only through England. In the South routes via Breconand Builthwere cut preventing train travel between South Walesand Mid Wales, while in the North most of the network was destroyed, leaving Caernarfonwithout a rail link and removing all links between the North West coast (left with only a slow link via Mid Wales), and the North Coast. This damage remains unrepaired today and makes train travel northwards through Wales impractical.
In recent years, the
Welsh Assembly Governmenthas announced its intention to reopen many of the disused or freight only lines and this has seen the Vale of Glamorgan Linebetween Cardiffand Bridgendput back into passenger use. Also the Ebbw Valley Linehas been partially reopened with hourly passenger services between Ebbw Valeand Cardiff Central railway station. Proposals to reopen links to Hirwaun(with the closure of Tower Colliery) and to restore passenger services on the Swansea District Lineremain in limbo.
The bulk of rail transport in Wales today is concentrated in the South with Cardiff Central, Cardiff Queen Street and Newport being the busiest stations in the region. Other major stations include Bridgend, Wrexham General and Swansea.
Local rail and tram
The only form of suburban rail system in Wales is the
Valley Linesnetwork serving Cardiff and the South Wales valleys. However, Cardiff, Swansea and Newport had extensive tram systems until the mid 20th century. Plans were mooted for a modern tram system to serve Cardiff's urban areas in late 1990s but these were shelved due to the costs of building and maintaining such a system. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/1765120.stm BBC News article on ULTra plans for Cardiff Sourced 22 February 2008] [http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2002/jan/16/transportintheuk Guardian article Sourced 22 February 2008] The only surviving tram service within Walesis the Great Orme Tramway, a cable hauled tramway in Llandudnowhich survives as a tourist attraction.
The world's first passenger tram service was the
Mumbles Railwayin Swansea, initially horse-drawn but later operated by steam and electric trams. [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/southwest/sites/swansea/pages/mumbles_trainanniv.shtml Early Days of Mumbles Railway] ]
Wales at the turn of the 19th century had one of the world's most developed
railwaynetworks due to the massive importance of coal miningand rail was the only viable option of transporting huge amounts of coal to the ports in Cardiff Bayand Newport Docks. In fact the rail junction at Radyr in Cardiff was once the world's busiest with over 300 trains per day making constant deliveries between the Bay and the many mines up the valleys.
Much of Wales is mountainous, and many primary resources, such as
slateor iron ore, were found in these mountains. To the mining and quarrying companies, it made sense to build narrow gauge railways, as they could handle steeper grades and tighter curves, and there were nearby port facilities or existing rail network to link to. As a result, many narrow gauge railways were built. These extended their services to passengers, the Ffestiniog Railwaybeing the first to do so.
World War IIthere was a decline in demand for these resources, and many of these railways were abandoned or demolished. After the war, preservation societies sought to rebuild these railways to their former glory. The first society to do so was the Talyllyn Railway, there are now at least twenty restored railways, both narrow and standard gauge.
Waleshas 83 miles (133 kilometres) of motorways, all of which are in the south. The major artery is the M4, which enters Wales via the Second Severn Crossingand terminates at Pont Abrahamin Carmarthenshire. The M4 in South Waleshas 27 junctions and is an important route between the main urban areas in the region. It links Llanelli, Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot, Bridgend, Cardiffand Newportdirectly to Londonand the rest of Southern Englandand indirectly to the Midlandsvia the A449, A40 and M50.
Following construction of the new crossing the original motorway bridge, which crosses the river further upstream at
Chepstow, was re-numbered the M48 motorway. Upon entering Wales via either motorway it is necessary to pay a toll- currently £5.30 for cars as of 2008. The A48(M) is a small spur from the M4 from West Newport to East Cardiff.
An additional motorway of 15 miles length is planned to bypass a congested section of the M4 around Newport, where much of the highway is substandard and difficult to widen further. [http://new.wales.gov.uk/topics/transport/roads/NewRoads2/M4/?lang=en] It is uncertain whether the
New M4south of the city will to be tolled.
The second major road is the
A470dual carriageway that connects Cardiffwith the South Wales Valleystowns and is one of the busiest A-roads in the UK.Fact|date=February 2008 It suffers from severe congestion especially during peak hours due to significant in-commuting to the Cardiff area.
The A465 "Heads of the Valleys" road, currently being upgraded to
dual carriageway, provides a link between the M4 near Neathacross the Heads of the Valleys to Abergavenny, Monmouthand the English Midlands via the A40 and M50.
The main arteries for
North Walesare A494, running from Queensferry (near the English border) to Dolgellau. The road begins from the M56 motorway, connecting North Wales with Chesterand Manchester Airport, both in England. More importantly the A55, which runs from Holyhead(for ferry connections to Ireland), Conwy, Llandudno Junctionand Rhylto a junction with the M53 motorwaynear Chester.
One of the oldest roads the A5 runs from the port of
Holyheadsouth east to Bangor then down through Snowdonia to Betws-y-Coed, Corwen, Llangollenand over the English border south of Chirk. This route has served as the main passage for London-Dublin traffic for many years although its usage has been superseded by the A55 coast road. It's now more famed as a scenic route and notorious for many Bank Holidaytraffic jams.
Two routes serve as the main North-South links. The A483 begins near Swansea and takes a north-easterly route to
Ammanford, Llandeilo, Llandovery, Llanwrtyd Wells, Builth Wells, Llandrindod Wells, Newtown, Welshpooland Wrexham, finally ending at Chester.
The A470 begins in
Cardiff Bayand passes through Cardiff following a north-north western route on to Pontypridd, Abercynon, Merthyr Tydfil, Brecon, Builth Wells, Rhayader, Llangurig, Llanidloes, Llandinam, Commins Coch, Mallwyd, Trawsfynydd, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Dolwyddelan, Betws-y-Coedand terminates at Llandudno. It is a dual carriageway between Cardiff and Merthyr (where it meets the Heads of the Valleys Road, the A465), and the section of this route into Cardiff is heavily used.
Bus and coach network
Wales has an extensive bus system, and buses provide the backbone of the public transport system in the major cities. In Cardiff and Newport the council-owned
Cardiff Busand Newport Transportrespectively operate the vast majority of local services, and are two of the few remaining municipally owned bus companies following deregulationin the 1980s. Other major operators in the South Wales area include Stagecoach, which provides services on a number of routes to the South Wales Valleys, and a low-cost coach service from Cardiffto Londonas part of its Megabusbrand.
Other bus companies throughout Wales include
First Cymru, Veolia Transportand Arriva North West and Wales. National Expressoffers services from major towns in North Wales to Liverpool, Manchester, Birminghamand London. From South Wales, there are direct services from Cardiff and Newport to Bristol, Birmingham, London, Leeds, Glasgowand Edinburgh. Swansea and Bridgendare also served by National Express services to London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Londonand Birmingham. TrawsCambriais sponsored by the Welsh Assembly Governmentand offers 5 intra-Wales routes which are:- Bangor to Aberystwyth, Aberystwythto Cardiffvia Aberaeron, Lampeterand Carmarthen, Aberystwythto Cardigan, Barmouthto Wrexhamvia Dolgellau, Bala, Llangollen, Newtown to Brecon.
Wales has two airports offering scheduled services.
Anglesey Airporthas a twice daily scheduled service to Cardiff International Airportwith a flight time of around 1 hour. Cardiff International Airport is served by regular scheduled services to cities in the British Isles, Europeand North America, as well as many regular charter services. Caernarfon Airportalso runs private charter flights.
Wales has several ports handling significant tonnages or passenger volumes:
Milford Haven, Port Talbot, Holyhead, Fishguard, Pembroke Dock, Cardiff, Newportand Swansea. Milford Haven specialises in oil and gas products and fishing; Port Talbot in ores and scrap; Holyhead, Fishguard and Pembroke Dock in passenger (and car) traffic to and from Ireland. Holyhead is also an important point of shipment for Roll-on/roll-offtraffic. Barry has a port that supports its area's chemicals industry and handles containers. Port facilities at Cardiff are still in operation but have declined in relative usage during recent years. [ [http://new.wales.gov.uk/docrepos/40382/4038231141/403821125/403821125/555822/WTS_(English)_2.pdf?lang=en Welsh Transport Strategy - Connecting Wales] ]
waterbusruns along the River Taffin Cardiffconnecting the city centre with Cardiff Bayand Penarth.
List of railway stations in Wales
Transport in the United Kingdom
* [http://www.traveline-cymru.org.uk/ Traveline Cymru]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.