Main Image Above: The Great Western Railway reached Cardiff in the 1850s to provide South Wales with a much-needed connection with the nation’s capital, the station has become one of the busiest main line stations in the UK and has developed into the largest in Wales, and this iconic city will soon be represented in Train Simulator.
The South Wales Main Line, or Prif Linell De Cymru provides the vital link between London and Wales’ most populous cities via the Great Western Main Line. The original line branches off at Swindon and connects to Newport, Cardiff and Swansea via Gloucester. While this link (known as the Great Way Round) worked during the latter half of the 1800s, it would soon become clear that a quicker connection was required.
The 1880s would bring the solution when plans for a tunnel under the River Severn were put into action by the GWR, the 2.5 mile long tunnel took some 13 years to complete and held the record for the longest main line tunnel for over 100 years. With a new railway connection diverting from just beyond Swindon and via Bristol Parkway, the journey between Wales and England could not have been made easier.
With the Welsh Coal Mines running at their peak, freight traffic was, and still is today a key part of the route with connections to various docks on both sides of the Severn. One major freight player revolved around the Welsh coal industry, with frequent trains running between mines and the docks. The South Wales Main Line was also thought to be a major role in the expansion of Fishguard Docks, the GWRs main connection to the USA.
Today the line is operated by Arriva Train Wales out of Cardiff and Great Western Railway services operate from London Paddington into Cardiff and beyond. Freight is still a key part of the route, be it imported coal or steel works movements, you can be sure to see some heavy traction. Electrification of the SWML is planned to go underway in the coming years, allowing the new Hitachi Super Express Electro-Diesel and Electric Multiple Units (Class 800 and 801) to replace the classic albeit aging HSTs on London – Cardiff services.
Soon you will have the chance to traverse the revolutionary Severn Tunnel in some of Britain’s most distinct locomotives with South Wales Coastal that is coming soon to Train Simulator!
A dash of beige and blue, passengers board Arriva Trains Wales 175111 as she stands waiting to make a rapid depart out of Newport in South Wales.
First Great Western (now Great Western Railway) 43160 stands proud at Cardiff Central station. The ‘High Speed Train’ is celebrating 4 decades of service in 2016, they have certainly served the west very well.
70004 runs light loco through South Wales in the striking Freightliner Powerhaul livery, the American roots of this locomotive are clear from rooftop to axle but the huge windscreen provides an unprecedented view.
The vast landscape that is Bristol Temple Meads clearly displays its true Great Western heritage as the huge arching roof hangs over Brunel’s classic broad gauge trackbeds.
Newport station in South Wales has seen many developments since its completion in 1850, the latest of which is the uniquely designed footbridge that links the vast station together.
Great Western Railway 43071 prepares for a London-bound departure out of Cardiff Central, 43071 was built in November of 1977 and is still clocking in tons of mileage to this day.
An icon of both rural and inter-city routes, the Class 158, begins boarding at Cardiff Central. Arriva Trains Wales 158823 is currently a long way from home, its Machynlleth depot being some 80 miles to the north.
Arriva Trains Wales 143601 is part of the infamous Pacer series of multiple units but that does not stop them from clinging on to regular passenger services, this one in particular heading North from Cardiff, bound for Coryton.
The grand entrance to Bristol Temple Meads is a wondrous sight to behold, standing tall since August 1840 and still serving the Great West to this day. Thankfully according to the clock it is lunchtime!
Great Western purple, a First Great Western 43025 is seen alongside a Bristol Temple Meads station signpost. This will soon become a rare sight as the GWR green once again takes hold of the west, and the Hitachi Class 800 takes power.
Our modelled interpretation of the Class 175 DMSL in the form of a clay render, confirmed as coming soon to Train Simulator. Continue to watch the site for more news and details on upcoming content for Train Simulator. Tell us about your Train Simulator collection below, we’d love to hear about how you’ll be putting this DMU to work on your routes!