A REDUCTION in the train service between Newport and Cardiff for essential modernisation work will see an average for two trains per hour travelling between the cities.

The work forms part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan for Wales, to enable Great Western Railway (GWR)’s new fleet of Intercity Express Trains to run between London and Cardiff on electricity.

The maintenance period will run from Monday, February 12/today until Sunday, February 25, and on February 17, 18 and 25, replacement buses will operate for all services between Newport stations and Cardiff Central.

During that two-week timeframe, engineers will be preparing the stretch of railway between the two cities for the equipment needed to power GWR’s new trains.

Steve Keighley, Network Rail in Wales and Borders' programme manager, said: “The new Intercity Express Trains, which run on both electric and diesel, will provide extra seats and better on-board facilities for thousands of passengers.

"We are working closely with our partners at Arriva Trains Wales and Great Western Railway to make sure people can still get where they need to be with a bus replacement service in operation during this essential upgrade work.

“We would like to thank passengers and residents for their patience during this improvement work and urge people to check before travelling.”

As part of the programme of work, the 117-year-old Splott Road bridge will be replaced as it is too low to accommodate the overhead line equipment needed for trains running on electricity

Bethan Jelfs, customer services director for Arriva Trains Wales said: “Investing in our infrastructure here in south Wales is vital to the long term future of our railway.

“We have been working closely with our partners in Network Rail to ensure as few passenger journeys as possible were affected by this.

“The work at Splott Road Bridge will mean some service changes between Cardiff and Newport and we would urge all our customers to check their journeys ahead of travelling.”

Mark Youngman, GWR's Wales development manager, said: “New Intercity Express Trains have been operating between south Wales and London Paddington, since last October, providing as much as 24 per cent more seats than the trains they have replaced.

“The electrification of the line between Cardiff and London will allow us to deliver the full benefit of these new trains, with more frequent, and quicker, journeys.”

Engineers will also work on the piling and post-installation.