Amey’s design for a new Core Valley Lines station in Cardiff prioritises accessibility, sustainability and cost effectiveness
Amey’s contract with Transport for Wales (TfW) to transform the Wales & Borders rail network includes the renewal of the ageing Core Valley Lines (CVL). As part of the CVL concept design proposal, TfW specified the construction of a new station near Crwys Road bridge in the Cathays district of Cardiff.
The rationale is to expand transport connectivity in an area with a vibrant business, student and residential population, improving services into the city centre as well as to Caerphilly and Rhymney. The new station will link with the bus services running along Crwys Road to the city centre, with cycle racks to encourage greener transport. An analysis projected a total demand of 900,000 passengers by 2029, bringing in a revenue of £1.247 million per annum.
Amey developed a number of design options for consideration by TfW, Cardiff City Council and other stakeholders. Options were ranked according to criteria including capital and operating costs, constructability and maintainability, accessibility, inclusivity, active travel links and impact on local road users and residents.
The project presented several challenges. The site, located under the Crwys Road bridge, is highly constrained, requiring a creative approach to accommodate the new platforms, crossings, lighting, cabling, CCTV and other equipment. The option proposed by Amey Consulting avoided any land purchase, although access to one of the platforms from an adjacent private property development had to be negotiated. The high predicted footfall added to the difficulty, as special consideration had to be given to platform length and width.
Accessibility for people with reduced mobility (PRM) was a top priority. The initial proposal, for two sets of steps leading down to the station from the road bridge, with ramped access from side streets to the platforms, was rejected as unfair to PRM users, who would not be able to cross easily between platforms. Amey resolved the issue by proposing the addition of a high-level walkway next to the road bridge with lifts conveying people down to platform level.
Whole life cost and sustainability were also important considerations. Amey worked with MegaTech Projects on a modular platform design using expanded polystyrene (EPS), an innovative Network Rail-approved material that allows for faster construction than traditional alternatives. The lightweight foam blocks are easy to handle and have no need of a concrete foundation, cutting costs and saving carbon. With little excavation required, the platforms can be assembled over a long weekend with minimal disturbance to neighbours.
The concept design proposal has been approved and the team is currently working on the detailed design. The project is due to complete in 2024.