A NEW access road from the M4 to Severn Tunnel Junction railway station could be built if plans for a new train service from south Wales to London are approved by the Office of Rail and Road.

Grand Union Trains wants to launch a new service - starting at Cardiff and passing through Newport, Severn Tunnel and Bristol Parkway - from May 2021.

They have offered to help build the road and invest in upgrading facilities at Severn Tunnel.

The only way drivers can currently access the station is through the village of Rogiet, which can cause heavy traffic and congestion.

Old service roads either side of the former toll booths on the Prince of Wales Bridge have been earmarked.

“In effect, the access is already there,” said Grand Union managing director Ian Yeowart.

“It would appear to be one of the simpler tasks to provide a motorway exit.

“It would need a bit of upgrading, but it would bring vehicles off the M4 and into the railway station without impacting the village and that is quite important.

“Because we don’t have to completely rebuild a motorway junction, we would not anticipate this taking years - it would be make sense.”

Picture: Grand Union

Mr Yeowart said Severn Tunnel “needs to reflect” the fact it will host trains to London every two-hours.

“The facilities aren’t brilliant.

“We want to increase the car parking and add some better facilities.”

Grand Union will apply “competitive pressure” to a service that has “only had one operator” since 1994, said Mr Yeowart.

Great Western Railways currently run the service from south Wales to London.

“Whatever they have said is the charge - that is what you’ve got to pay," said Mr Yeowart.

“What we do on our trains is down to us and it is not down to an algorithm or a formula from someone else saying you have to charge x-number of pounds per seats.

“It is not how many seats you have per train; it is how comfortable are they?

“Is there enough luggage room and how accessible are they?”

If seats cannot be provided, Grand Union say they will refund a standing passenger 50 per cent of their ticket price.

“We have been in contact with the Welsh Government and they are very supportive of our proposal, and we hope we get a positive decision in the New Year,” said Mr Yeowart.

The trains - which will initially be electric - may also be used to move “van-load freights” of goods and supplies.

Grand Union is also working with freight specialists InterCity RailFreight regarding the transporting of “important biological items” bound for the NHS.

A new fleet of Hitachi Class 902 bi-mode trains will replace the electric model in 2023 if further plans for an hourly service are approved.