The Office of Rail and Road approves new Grand Union train services from South Wales to London - start date

This decision to increase rail services from South Wales to London could potentially mean lower rail fares

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has opened up the Great Western Main Line enabling a big increase in services going from South Wales to London. The introduction of new trains going from and to London, Cardiff and South Wales will be in operation from the end of 2024.

The services are to be operated by Grand Union Trains bringing competition to the Great Western route out of Paddington. The Office of Rail and Road said “Passengers travelling between London, Bristol Parkway, Severn Tunnel Junction, Newport, Cardiff, Gowerton, Llanelli and Carmarthen will benefit from an extra five daily return services and greater choice of operator”.

The application was submitted to the ORR in June 2022, and was initially disputed by Network Rail over concerns regarding the network capacity. But following careful consideration and analysis, ORR has directed Network Rail to enter into a contract with Grand Union.

Currently, the fastest route from London to Cardiff is one hour and 59 minutes. And, the decision to open up the Great Western Main Line to competition for the first time comes with great potential benefits such as lower fares, improved service quality and more.

Stephanie Tobyn, Director of Strategy, Policy and Reform at ORR said: “This decision supports more choice for passengers, new direct journey opportunities, more price competition, and new comfortable trains.

“The added competition should also make a significant contribution to innovation in terms of the routes served, ticketing practices and service quality improvements, by both Grand Union and through the response of existing operators.”

Related topics: