Client: Blaenau Gwent County Borough
Council (Lead), Caerphilly County Borough Council, Newport County
Location: Ebbw Valley, South East
Services: Project Management,
Environment, Transportation and Engineering.
Contract Type: Bespoke NEC 2, Detailed
Design & Build
Project Value: £35m
- Initial Feasibility - 1998
- Design Commenced - 2003
- Contract Awarded - November 2005
- Handback to Network Rail - December 2007
- Passenger Services Commenced - February 2008
Ebbw Vale is a typical Welsh Valleys town - lines of
neat terraced houses etched into the hillside, a rich industrial
heritage, and a strong sense of community.
However, following the decline of the coal and steel industries
places such as Ebbw Vale have endured a sometimes painful economic
downturn - with residents having to look harder and further afield
to find work.
The £30m Ebbw Valley Railway was developed as a response to
these difficulties. Since opening in 2008, the line has provided a
direct rail link railway link to Cardiff - helping to
regenerate the town, valley and the surrounding area.
The result of ten years of determined effort from initial
feasibility and the obtaining of funding, through to design and
construction, the railway re-establishes rail passenger services
between the town and the burgeoning Welsh capital for the first
time in 46 years. The project also involved the upgrading of 18
miles of former freight line and the building of six new
This is the first UK railway of its type to be procured and
delivered by a local authority (Blaenau Gwent County Borough
Council via funding from the Welsh Assembly Government and Welsh
European Funding Office)..
Capita Symonds provided a full multidisciplinary service on this
project, working in close partnership with lead client Blaenau
Gwent County Borough Council, plus Caerphilly County Borough
Council; Newport City Council; the Welsh Assembly Government;
Network Rail; Arriva Trains Wales; and contractor Amey Rail.
The new line is already improving accessibility to business,
employment and leisure opportunities for the local community. It
averages an impressive 11,000 passenger trips a week while the
first year’s figures of 570,000 trips comfortably topped the
It is also helping to provide an holistic strategy to improve
the public transport network across the area by offering viable,
sustainable alternatives to the car (the project has cut public
transport journey times between Ebbw Vale and Cardiff by 30%).
The project serves as an example of how local authorities can
manage and procure an unusual and challenging project that will be
a valued asset for future generations. What’s more, it also
demonstrates how engineering and construction professionals can
have a real impact, transforming lives right across the
In October 2009 the line celebrated carrying its
millionth passenger - less than two years after it
- RICS Wales 2009 Welsh Project of the Year (winner)
- RTPI Cymru 2008 Project of the Year (winner)
- Insider Property Awards 2008 Best Civil Scheme (winner)
- RTPI National Awards 2008 (commendation)
- Regeneration and Renewal Awards 2008 (commendation)
- CILT National Awards 2008 (finalist)
- Wales Innovation Awards 2008 (best practice).