RCT Transport Corridor update

Written by on 12th June 2021

Significant future plans to improve travel connectivity between communities in Rhondda Cynon Taf and north west Cardiff have been announced, following the first stage of a Welsh Governmentfunded transport study.

The study into the ‘North West Transport Corridor’was commissioned in July 2019 and has nowidentified short and long-term public transport options from Pontyclun, Talbot Green, Llantrisant, Beddau, Creigiau and Plasdwr towards Cardiff City Centre – while encouraging travel in the opposite direction into Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Rhondda Cynon Taf and Cardiff Councils will now review the plans in order to investigate how they can best serve local residents and commuters within both areas. The plans will shortly be presented to Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee (June 15) and Cabinet (June 17).

Specific plans brought forward following the study intend to improve walking, cycling and public transport links along the Corridor by 2025. They include:

Increasing the number of services on the City Line to at least four trains an hour between Cardiff Central and Radyr with a new station at Ely Mill.
Increasing the number of services on the South Wales Main Line, to improve services from Pontyclun.
A new ‘Parkway’ station on the South Wales Main Line at Junction 34 of the M4.
Enhanced quality of interchange at train stations between Active Travel, bus, rail and car, for example at Waungron Park and Radyr stations.
A strategic bus park and ride service at Junction 33 of the M4.
A new Bus Rapid Transport route between central Cardiff and Junction 33 via Leckwith Road and the A4232.
A bus gate and spur providing access from the A4232 (northbound and southbound) to Plasdwr.
A new Bus Rapid Transport route from Central Cardiff to Plasdwr via Cowbridge Road East, Waungron Park and Fairwater
A new Bus Rapid Transport route from Junction 33 to Talbot Green via the A4119 with onward connections to communities in southernRhondda Cynon Taf.

These initial plans (Strategic Outline Case)represent the first of five stages established by Welsh Government in order to implement major infrastructure schemes. It is now intended to take forward the proposals to the second stage (Outline Business Case). No formal decisions have yet been made, with strategic options set to be identified and shortlisted later in the process.

Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways and Transportation,said: I’m pleased that these important plans have been brought forward following the study, commissioned by Welsh Government, Transport for Wales, Cardiff Council and Rhondda Cynon Taf Council two years ago. The specific proposals are aimed at creating a rapid public transport system which will connect communities along the Corridor to the wider South Wales Metro.

The Corridor was identified for this study due to several factors, with the North West of Cardiff along with Talbot Green and Llantrisant identified as a Strategic Opportunity Area with potential economic growth within the Cardiff Capital Region. Locally in Rhondda Cynon Taf, the Council has similarly identified the A4119 Corridor and Rhondda Gateway Region in this way.

The A4119 serving the North West Cardiff Corridor also experiences heavy traffic congestion, particularly at key travel times – and with this forecast to worsen, the need for a fully-integrated, high-quality transport system is even more important. Another key factor is the forecast for residential development and economic activity in Talbot Green and Llantrisant, as outlined in the Local Development Plan. Future developments would place further considerable pressure on the existing transport network without an effective solution.

The short-term improvements brought forward today are focused on bus-related and Active Travel improvements up to 2025, while work continues on developing proposals for rail/tram route improvements serving North West Cardiff and beyond to Rhondda Cynon Taf from 2025 to 2030. This could potentially use the corridor between central Cardiff, Junction 33 and Creigiau, which could be extended to Cross Inn, Pontyclun and Beddau.

The exciting proposals announced today have regional significance, with the potential to attract huge funding into the area while reducing journey times, transforming travel behaviour by commutersand offering residents with improved access to jobs and other opportunities. Residents will be kept fully-informed with developments, while extensiveconsultation with stakeholders and the public will be an important consideration as the plans progress.”

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