Valley Lines (train operating company)

For the urban rail network around Cardiff, formerly operated by this franchise but today by Arriva Trains Wales, see Valley Lines.
Valley Lines
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 size: 36
National Rail abbreviation: VL
Parent company: Prism Rail

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

In July 2000 Prism Rail was purchased by National Express.[2][3]


Valley Lines operated passenger services around Cardiff and the South Wales 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 its Class 150 units for Class 142 units from the north of England.

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


Class Image Type Top speed Number Built
mph km/h
Class 142 Pacer Diesel multiple unit 75 120 15 1985-1987
Class 143 Pacer Diesel multiple unit 75 120 14 1985-1986
Class 150 Sprinter 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 and West franchise were merged with those of Valley Lines to create Wales and Borders Trains.


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Preceded by
Regional Railways
As part of British Rail
Operator of Valley Lines franchise
1996 - 2001
Succeeded by
Wales & Borders
Wales & Borders franchise
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