The Ceredigion village of Bow Street is enjoying new connectivity thanks to the re-opening of Bow Street Station, which had been closed to trains since 1965. 56 years later, the £8m project, which was 11 years in the planning, finally sees the station reconnected with the Cambrian Line between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury.
The project, delivered by Griffiths for Transport for Wales, includes a 100m platform, an 8000m2 75-space car park, a new access road via a staggered junction with the A487, bus shelter and passenger drop off / pick up area. It is the first station to open in Wales since Ebbw Vale Town in May 2015 and Transport for Wales’ first since taking over the Wales and Borders network franchise in 2018.
As part of the new development, a new access road was constructed to link the railway station and associated transport interchange to the A487. In addition, the A487 / A4159 junction design was revised to accommodate a two-lane approach on the A4159 and new pedestrian / cycle crossing facilities installed.
A range of sustainability initiatives were employed during the Construction Phase, including reuse of materials for earthworks, installation of an extensive car park sustainable drainage system, and innovative treatment of Japanese Knotweed.
Griffiths also developed a comprehensive Sustainable Development Plan for the project, using local labour and spending significantly on local SMEs for services and materials. Griffiths also provided 52 weeks of training.
The Welsh Government’s Economic Footprinting Tool was used to calculate local economic benefits, with a Welsh Local Multiplier of £1.91 achieved. This means the project is worth almost £16m to the Welsh economy. The Welsh Government estimates the new station will ‘generate’ 30,000 annual rail trips and take 466,000 vehicle miles (750,000km) off the road network every year, reducing carbon emissions by approximately 106 tonnes per annum.
Crucially, the new station removes the need for local residents to travel to Aberystwyth for their nearest train station and reduces parking issues at Aberystwyth Station.
The Welsh Government commissioned a study into the reopening of the station in 2015. In July 2017 it was announced that the station had been approved funding from the Department for Transport. However, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) expressed concerns about the potential for flooding in the car park, so Transport for Wales submitted a revised plan to Ceredigion County Council in August 2019 that addressed NRW’s concerns. The revised design included the installation of two attenuation tanks with a combined volume of 561m3. Using this system, attenuated storm flows from the car park and platform discharge via flow control chambers to a drainage soakaway ditch. Two oil interceptors were also installed to separate any contaminants and ensure they are not discharged into the local ground water. Planning permission for the new plans was granted in September 2019.
Bow Street is the third station to open in Wales in seven years, following Ebbw Vale Town Centre in 2015 and Pye Corner in December 2014. Pye Corner was also delivered by Griffiths.
Following the opening of the new Bow Street station on Sunday 14 February 2021, Ken Skates, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, said: “This is great news for passengers and the local area. The station will bring social and economic benefits to the area, which alongside the nearby active travel routes will make it easier for people to travel in a sustainable way.”
Development of new station required development of agricultural land and former railway land. Nearly 1000t of removed topsoil was donated to the nearby Bow Street Football Club to be used in the construction of a new training pitch, which was off-level and needed attention. Griffiths supplied 3 operatives for 2 weeks as well as a plant.
Whilst the Construction Phase of the new Bow Street Transport Interchange project took place under the constraints and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020, Griffiths and Transport for Wales (TfW) nevertheless succeeded in ensuring works were conducted safely. The project recorded zero lost time injuries for around 80,000 manhours onsite.