“Delivering the £1bn Welsh Metro project will be one of the most ambitious and complex programmes we’ve ever undertaken.”
Those were the words of Deputy Minister for Climate Change, with a responsibility for transport, Lee Waters as he unveiled new maps showing the enormous scale of the project.
Speaking just a week before the Welsh Government publishes its Net Zero plans in the run up to COP26, the Deputy Minister said how the project would deliver on plans set out in Llwybr Newydd, the Wales Transport Strategy, by creating a "modern, integrated and sustainable transport network that supports modern lifestyles".
It is hoped that the Metro will make it "the easier choice for people to use their cars less and public transport and active travel more", in order to "significantly reduce our environmental impact and help Wales reach its Net Zero carbon target by 2050".
The new maps, made available for the first time today, illustrate the "ambitious" short and longer term plans that the programme will deliver, to help people make the right choice. These include:
172km of electrification to improve journey times and frequency
Up to 30% more services to improve connectivity across Cymru, such as new tram-trains offering fast turn-up-and-go services at 45 stations on Valleys Lines by 2024
New and improved rail and bus services and active travel routes to reduce rural isolation, provide a door-to-door commuting experience and open up job, business and leisure opportunities across the north
New integrated tickets and more flexible fare options delivered through new technology on all buses and more than 200 new ticket machines at stations
New and improved train stations across Cymru to provide a viable public transport alternative to the congested road network and;
100% renewable energy powering overhead wires to reduce our carbon footprint
As well as connecting communities the project is already delivering economic benefits across Cymru— promoting careers in engineering for children and women, providing job opportunities for veterans, and creating pathways to help offenders with their rehabilitation into stable and rewarding and employment.
Deputy Minister Lee Waters said: “The Metro is not simply a transport project, it’s about changing the lives of people across Wales and is an excellent example of how investment in tackling climate change has far broader community benefits.
“Improving our public transport and active travel network routes is the right and responsible thing to do for the environment – making low carbon transport options more attractive, affordable, and easier to use – enabling people to leave their car at home particularly in the more densely populated parts of Wales linking up with active travel routes to provide door-to-door journeys in an integrated, sustainable transport network.
“Next month we will be attending COP26 - the most important COP since Paris in 2015 – and we will take a clear message to Glasgow that Wales is a globally responsible nation – ambitious projects like this prove that and show how everyone here is willing to play a part to combat global warming.”
The Welsh Government has also announced today an additional £2m cash injection to expand existing plans for the south east and south west metros, to include new bus and rail stations and services as well more active travel routes making public transport more attractive and accessible and connecting communities.