Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport
I would now like to update Members about the plans for investment in rolling stock facilities, including a new state-of-the-art depot facility to support the operation of the South Wales Metro.
Through the procurement we have secured investment of almost £100m in a new depot, which will be built in Taffs Well on a site acquired by the Welsh Government in March 2016. It will house and service 36 of the new Metro vehicles that will operate services on the Taff Vale lines and eventually be the base for 400 train crew and 35 Metro vehicle maintenance staff.
The new Taffs Well depot will complement the continued use of existing depots such as Canton, where around £5m will be invested to modernise the maintenance facilities to support the new tri-mode rolling stock. Together these depots will perform a critical function supporting the operation of the South Wales Metro
The new Taffs Well depot will also be home to an integrated control centre for the South Wales Metro employing 52 staff.
The Economic Action Plan focuses investment such that it aligns with our decarbonisation aims. Electricity sourced from 100% renewable sources will be used at the new Taffs Well depot, with rain water harvesting expected to save over 3,000m3 of water per year. Added to this, solar panels will also be installed and the latest LED lighting will minimise light pollution and energy use, in line with the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 and helping to achieve the policy goals of the Well-being of Future Generations Act.
In addition to the new depot facilities, Taffs Well station will also be modernised as part of our £194m investment in station improvements. A park and ride facility will also be created to enable commuters to use the South Wales Metro.
Clearance and construction work is expected to start in 2019 and be completed by mid-2022, with Transport for Wales procuring construction companies through Sell2Wales and the STRIDE framework.
Public investment with a social purpose is a cornerstone of our new approach to rail and in accordance with our Economic Action Plan, we are aiming to maximise the opportunities for Welsh businesses, stimulate the Welsh economy and develop local skills, creating and supporting as many local jobs as possible.
The construction of the Taffs Well depot will be one of the first opportunities for Welsh suppliers to benefit from the £738m investment in the South Wales Metro to create a sustainable transport infrastructure.
Transport for Wales considered a number of potential locations, including the tops of the Valley Lines branches, for the new depot and other facilities. Whilst Taffs Well is the best value solution for the new depot by a significant margin in terms of capital and operations costs, as well as operational efficiencies, we are investing in other important support facilities around the network.
There will be investment in enhanced stabling facilities in Treherbert. In Rhymney there will be investment in stabling facilities and enhanced light maintenance alongside an upgrade to the station, to accommodate more and longer tri-mode rolling stock.
I look forward to sharing with you further details of our exciting, transformative plans for the next Wales and Borders rail service and South Wales Metro in the coming weeks and months.