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Valley Lines
Valley lines logo.svg
Cardiff DMU1.png
Franchise(s)Valley Lines
13 October 1996 – 13 October 2001
Main region(s)Cardiff and South Wales Valleys
Other region(s)Bridgend and Vale of Glamorgan
Fleet size36
Parent companyNational Express
Reporting markVL
SuccessorWales and Borders

Valley Lines[1] was the trading name of the Cardiff Railway Company, a train operating company owned by Prism Rail and later National Express,[2][3] that ran local services around Cardiff from October 1996 until October 2001.


Valley Lines operated passenger services around Cardiff and the Valleys in South Wales.

Routes operated consisted of four northern branches to Aberdare, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhymney and Treherbert, which were interworked with the shorter southerly branches to Penarth, Barry Island and Cardiff Bay. The City Line between Radyr and Coryton also formed part of the franchise, with all services calling at Cardiff Queen Street.

The operator originally undertook to introduce new services from Pontypridd to Manchester and Portsmouth,[4] but this did not take place.

The franchise predates the introduction of services that are now generally included under the 'Valley Lines' umbrella, such as those via the Vale of Glamorgan line and to Ebbw Vale.

Rolling stock

Valley Lines inherited a fleet of Class 143s and Class 150s from British Rail. Starting in 1998, the operator changed its fleet by exchanging some of its Class 150s for Class 142s from the north of England.

Valley Lines also used Mark 2 carriages on Rhymney Line services with EWS Class 37s and Fifty Fund Class 50s among the locomotives used.


Class Image Type Top speed Number Built
mph km/h
142 Pacer
142069 Cardiff Central GMPTE.png
Diesel multiple unit 75 120 15 1985–1987
143 Pacer
143607 at Gloucester.JPG
14 1985–1986
Class 143 Diagram, Valley Lines.png
150 Sprinter
150279 at Gloucester.JPG
Diesel multiple unit 75 120 6 1984–1987

Valley Lines' fleet was maintained at Cardiff Canton depot.


In 2000 the Strategic Rail Authority announced its intention that a single all-Wales franchise should take over the majority of rail services in Wales.[5] Accordingly, in October 2001, various operations of the Wales & West franchise were merged with those of Valley Lines to create Wales & Borders.


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 3007927 Archived 19 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine Cardiff Railway Company Limited
  2. ^ Osborne, Alistair (19 July 2000). "National Express buys Prism for £166m". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 22 November 2020. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  3. ^ Harper, Keith (19 July 2000). "National Express buys Prism for £166m". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  4. ^ Poole, Fiona (30 May 1997). "The Railway Passenger Companies - Research Paper 97/72" (PDF). House of Commons Library. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 October 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  5. ^ "Plan for single Welsh rail franchise". BBC News. 20 June 2000. Archived from the original on 31 August 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
Preceded byRegional RailwaysAs part of British Rail Operator of Valley Lines franchise 1996–2001 Succeeded byWales and BordersWales & Borders franchise