A NETWORK of trams connecting residential areas to the centre of Newport and beyond could provide a convenient, environmentally-friendly future for travel in the city, a transport group argues.

The Light Rail Transit Association believes an integrated tram and train system is a viable alternative to Newport's traffic issues, now that the M4 relief road project has been scrapped.

Historic tramways – dismantled decades ago and tarmacked over – could be restored and serve as the main public transport option for the city's residents and shoppers, the group argues.

A proposed tram route, which the group dubs the 'T48' line, could connect residential areas on each side of Newport with the city centre and Cardiff, running alongside the A48 dual carriageway between the cities.


The LRTA argues Newport's current public transport services – both bus and rail – focus too much on singular routes in and out of the city centre.

"The existing rail infrastructure can, however, be substantially enhanced at modest cost," the group said in a report. "Some road enhancements, coupled with light rail/tram provision, can also make a contribution."

The group envisions a tram-train system running through Newport on new tramways and existing railway lines, similar to the existing scheme in the Sheffield area.

Trams would begin at Newport railway station, travelling via Queensway to the central bus station and Friars Walk, along Cardiff Road to the Royal Gwent Hospital, and joining up with the Ebbw Vale railway line.

This is something also being considered by the Welsh Government, who included a tram-train line for Newport in its 'aspirations and proposals' for the South Wales Main Line redevelopment.

The LRTA believes the tram network should stretch beyond the centre, however, connecting to Caerleon, Coldra, Duffryn, Malpas, and Pye Corner; as well as lower parts of the Cwmbran area including the new Grange University Hospital.

For commuters who travel to Cardiff, a T48 tramway could run alongside the A48 road, which the LRTA says is wide enough to accommodate both road and rail.

Existing rail services could be developed and allow more frequent journeys if dedicated trains ran in both directions between Newport and platforms at Abergavenny, Chepstow and Ebbw Vale stations, the group argues.

The LRTA also backs calls for new stations in Caerleon, Chepstow South, and Magor – some of which are in development.

The group has submitted its proposals to the South East Wales Transport Commission, which was set up last year – in the wake of the relief road decision – to find alternative solutions to the region's traffic problems.