PRESS NOTICE 1 December 2022
New rail services from Carmarthen to London Paddington
Grand Union Trains (GUT) application for the right to operate a new intercity train service between Carmarthen and London Paddington, operating 5 return services every day has today been approved by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).
Services are due to commence sometime in 2025 using new build bi-mode trains which can operate under electric or diesel power, as not all of the route is electrified.
Ian Yeowart, Grand Union’s Managing Director said: “It is great news for passengers who may have the opportunity to use our services, and one only has to look at what happens now on the East Coast Main Line (ECML), where there are 3 competing operators, to see the significant benefits that arise when operators face some competition. We are acutely aware of the difficulties faced by the ORR in determining these applications, and previous ORR decisions have significantly benefited many users on the ECML. We expect to be able to bring those benefits to the Great Western Main Line”.
He continued: “The very significant support we have received from the Welsh Government and all areas of South and West Wales has been very important in promoting the value of the service and we are grateful for the cross party support we have had from members of the Senedd and Westminster and from a number of local authorities”.
We look forward to continuing our work with partners and colleagues as we plan for the introduction of this new service.
PRESS RELEASE 30 September 2022
New rail services from Carmarthen to London Paddington
Grand Union Trains (GUT) application for the right to operate a new intercity train service between Carmarthen and London Paddington, operating 5 return services every day is currently being considered by the Office of Rail and Road ORR.
The application includes a commitment to build a new ‘parkway’ station at Felindre, north of Swansea, which will reduce journey times from Carmarthen and Llanelli to Cardiff and onto London by around 20 minutes. Services will be operated by brand new bi-mode trains which are able to operate as electric or diesel.
GUT’s proposal foresees a significant investment for the delivery of the service, which is made possible by Grand Union’s link up with Serena Industrial Partners, a European independent investment firm committed to the development of sustainable infrastructures in the UK.
One of the main characteristics of the new service will be its high-quality design, including improved on-board comfort (bigger seats, more legroom and increased luggage space) as well as a buffet car available on every service, aiming to offer our users the best experience in the market.
For this high quality purpose, the project promoters have contacted Renfe, the leading railway operator in Spain, to propose that it becomes a strategic partner that brings to the project its best practices as a reference operator in Spain for more than 80 years.
In brief, the proposed service consists of:
• 5 return services every day between Carmarthen and London Paddington
• New parkway station to be built at Felindre, north of Swansea and next to the M4
• Upgraded facilities and improved access planned at Severn Tunnel Junction station
• Reduced journey times on the route
• High-quality offer with improved on-board comfort
• Over 125 new jobs created; the majority in Wales
Ian Yeowart, managing director of Grand Union Trains, stated: “We have been pleased to work on promoting this important service which will, for the first time, deliver significant new infrastructure as part of the application process. Our high-quality offer will undoubtedly improve the user’s experience while using the UK rail network, a worldwide rail reference that continues to evolve every day. For this goal, we have been proud to work alongside colleagues at Serena and Renfe whose vision for improved services is close to our own and has enabled us to put forward this ambitious project to the ORR.”
Joaquin Camacho, Founding Partner of Serena, stated: “Serena aims to contribute to the development of sustainable and resilient infrastructure in the United Kingdom. This is a perfect example of our purpose and spirit, which will provide an important mobility solution responding effectively to the climate challenge, while reducing journey times and providing a high-quality service alternative to the existing services on the route to South Wales. This proposal addresses current social, economic, and environmental needs by providing jobs and increasing the usage of the UK’s rail network.”
Renfe officials added: “Throughout the years, Renfe has established a reputation for excellence in rail operations in Spain and around the world. We are now proud to be supporting Grand Union Trains for the development of this new service, that will connect Wales with London with customers at the centre of the service. We look forward to bringing our unique experience to the project as well as future opportunities in the UK.”
Further information contact: Grand Union:
Serena Industrial Partners:
Serena Industrial Partners is an independent investment manager focused on infrastructure development. Serena combines strong industrial and transactional experience with a long-term approach to generate sustainable value for its investors, its partners and society. It aims to promote resilient greenfield and yellowfield projects within three core sectors: mobility, environment, and social infrastructure. Serena is currently developing and managing a diversified investment portfolio across its two core geographies: Europe and the Americas
Renfe is Spain’s leading railway and mobility operator. With over 80 years of rail experience, Renfe is a technological, customer-oriented company specialized in high-speed, regional, commuter and freight services, which make Renfe one of the most significant operators in the world. Offering a highly sustainable and accessible service for everyone, Renfe is a central actor in the transport system of Spain. But the company is also global, with a strategy evolving towards a combination of national and international projects, leveraging our experience working with worldwide partners and combining technologies from different rolling stock suppliers. Renfe is now present in Saudi Arabia, the United States of America, México, Central Europe and the Baltic Countries, among others.
Press release ORR approval 0112-2022