New design and build partner set to be appointed for Cardiff Crossrail

The first phase of Cardiff Crossrail has taken a step forward today – with news that a design and build partner will be appointed, to deliver the detailed design for the first phase of the scheme from Cardiff Central to Cardiff Bay railway station.

Cardiff Council’s Cabinet received an update on the scheme at its meeting on Thursday, March 21, with recommendations to procure and appoint a delivery partner to deliver the first phase of the scheme, and to give authority for the council and Transport for Wales (TfW) to start the consultation and engagement process with the public. The recommendations were approved by Cabinet.

In January 2023, Cardiff Council, in partnership with TfW, secured £100m of funding for the Cardiff Crossrail project. £50m was secured from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund, with Welsh Government match funding a further £50m for the project,

The £50m UK Government funding must be spent by the middle of 2026 and the Welsh Government’s funding will be awarded in four annual instalments of £12.5m each from 2026.

To meet these timelines, the project has been divided up into two delivery phases, which are:

Phase 1a) Cardiff Central to Cardiff Bay Station. This phase is fully funded and will require a significant redevelopment of the highway network around Callaghan Square, so the tram/train can connect onto the existing Cardiff Bay train line, as well as a new tram/train platform at Cardiff Central.

To ensure that the tram can interconnect with walking and cycling routes, there will be new public realm in front of Callaghan Square, a new segregated cycleway to connect Cardiff Central with Callaghan Square linking with the wider strategic network, and changes to the access arrangements for general traffic through Bute Terrace and Lower St Mary Street.

Phase 1b) Cardiff Bay Station to Pierhead Street. This phase isn’t currently funded but will include the re-modelling of the highway network around the Flourish and Pierhead Street to allow for a new tram track extension to be built. This part of the scheme will also include improving facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, with new crossing facilities and a new segregated cycleway to better connect Roald Dahl Plass with the new indoor arena development. 

A spokesperson for Cardiff Council said: "Cardiff Crossrail is an ambitious plan to deliver Cardiff’s new tram/train transport system which will eventually run from the northwest of the city, all the way to the east of the city connecting with the proposed Parkway station.

“The Crossrail has been a long-held ambition for some time, to provide a cross-city tram service that is affordable and reliable for the public to use, and to connect some of Cardiff's poorest communities to the rail network for the first time.

“To start this process, the first phase of the scheme must be built between Cardiff Central and Cardiff Bay. This will finally ensure that Butetown is properly connected to the city centre, via Cardiff Central, providing further capacity for residents and visitors to access the wide range of attractions that Cardiff has to offer.

“The scheme will also create jobs in construction and operation and give the residents of Butetown better travel options for both work and pleasure. The social value of the contract will be confirmed by the chosen contractor when the bids are received and evaluated.

"Once the first phase is delivered, this route can be extended to the east or south, providing a new reliable and affordable transport route for the public to use.”

 To deliver the first phase of Cardiff Crossrail a timeline has been set, which is:

• April 2024: Outline Business Case to be submitted to UK Government

• Summer 2024: Stakeholder Engagement takes place ahead of the Public Consultation in autumn 2024

• Autumn 2024: Enabling Works begin

• Winter 2024: Full Business Case submitted to UK Government

• Winter 2024: Further Cabinet approval to award the tender

• Summer 2025: Further Cabinet approval to award the tender

• Summer/Autumn 2025: Construction begins.