A full list of routes covered by Dudley Mall appears
at the bottom of this page.
Wheels: ChCa. If you're on wheels, see our Easy Access page for explanation. Ch is Cheltenham-bound, Ca is Cardiff-bound.
A general view of Newport station. The width between the platforms is due to the station being originally laid out to suit Brunel's seven foot gauge track.
CHELTENHAM SPA station lies in the corner of Gloucester Road (B4633)
and Queens Road. There is access from both sides, with the main building and extensive pay-and-display parking
on the Queens Road side. Both entrances are higher than the rest of the station, level with the twin passenger
overbridges. The ticket office is also at this level. There are covered steps down to both
platforms, while outside (open air) ramps go down to entrances at platform level. The station is traditional
with canopies for most of its length and plenty of seats. Both sides have waiting rooms, with the
Bristol platform also offering snacks. Both are served with video train information and a pleasant clear-voiced
announcing system. Wheels: BBr|
Cheltenham also serves the Birmingham-Bristol line. Click here to transfer to our guide for that line.
GLOUCESTER station is generally well-signed, though we did go amiss at one point. But the high level track is easily followed either to a new directional clue or to the station itself. When you get there, Gloucester station itself is obvious and has a pay-and-display parking area for 100-120 cars, with a few bays for 20-minute short stay calls. There is a traffic island arrangement in front of the station building, and the building itself has a ticket office and a reasonable-sized cafe/newspaper area. It also has an office for the railway police if you should need them. Note that the main platform has 3 faces, separately numbered. Only platform 4 is across the tracks, and only the footbridge will get you there - but prominent signs tell you to ask any station staff for help if necessary. Although it collected quite a number of passengers while we were there, platform 4 has little seating and no rooms off it but there is plenty of canopy shelter. There is video train information and the same pleasant clear-voiced announcing system noted at Cheltenham. Take care when leaving the station as the exit is traffic-light-controlled. Wheels: ChCa.
CALDICOT station is on the southern edge of the town, reached by Station Road, a turnoff from Caldicot By-pass (B4245). It is signed, but somewhat shyly - and donít overshoot Station Roadís swing southwards. The road goes under a very low bridge, so keep your eyes open if driving at night. To cope with higher vehicles (and probably flooding at times) there is also ramping up to a gated crossing over the line. The station is on the west side of this - simple, short platforms each with a bus shelter and about 6 seats inside. Sloping ramps make wheeled access an effort but still quite feasible. There is no adjacent parking, but you might get street parking not far away.
This south-side photo just shows (from left to right) the end of a platform shelter, the access ramp, then the gated crossing for large vehicles, and the low bridge for cars, etc. The black post is a cyclists' milepost.
NEWPORT (Casnewydd) Newport is the second busiest station in Wales, struggling to cope with rising passenger traffic and being redeveloped to meet demand. It is mainly traditional stone buildings and long canopies for shelter. The main building on platform 1 has a large booking hall/waiting area, and a newsagent/bookshop alongside. Across on platform 2/3 there is a cafť, waiting room and toilets. The platforms are linked by an overbridge that also leads to the main station car park, and there are passenger lifts from the platforms to the bridge. At the far side of the station is platform 4. This appeared to be defunct for passenger services and therefore inaccessible in 2005, but that situation may have changed. Since our visit a new space-age (style and materials) passenger overbridge has been built at the Cardiff end of the station, and opened in late 2010. It includes a new ticket office and gives better access across the line and to the long-stay car park.
In front of the station is a tight, marked-out area for short term parking which is free for 20 minutes, but charged for longer stays. You must display a ticket even if using it free, which is a head-scratcher when you first read the machineís instructions. Just press the button. If you decide to park elsewhere, be warned that the roads near the station are designed for high-volume non-stop traffic which may not have much patience if you are struggling with signs, etc. Wheels: ChCa.
The photo shows the enduring Great Western Railway heritage. Two grey-headed friends sit on a bench with flourished Victorian lettering that's about twice their age. The empty bench is a mere youngster - about 75 years old with 1930s button lettering. Mind you, the wood has probably been replaced once or twice! Whilst the station is mainly straight, the track curves strongly at each end, as this picture shows. For a general view of the station, see the top of this page.
Newport also serves the Chester-Hereford-Newport line. Click here to transfer to our guide for that line.
CARDIFF CENTRAL (Caerdydd Canolog)
Please note: it is several years since we visited this station. We were unable to take notes at the time, and some material is drawn from 3rd party sources. Cardiff Central is the biggest and busiest station in Wales. Its long concourse has a large train departures board and a range of services - ticket machines, news, snacks, etc. - with the ticket office at the western end. Platforms 1-7 are reached through two underpasses, the eastern one going to lifts, the other to stairs. Both have ticket barriers. There is a further access in the end wall: stairs to the fairly new platform 0 (zero - one of only four British stations to use 0, but there are good reasons for not renumbering all the platforms). Wheelchair users can avoid the stairs by using the station car park alongside Platform 0. It was intended to build a lift to this platform in 2009/10 but we don't know if it has happened yet.
The station is still a traditional one with toilets and waiting rooms on the platforms, all under long canopies (the plan does not claim accuracy on their layout). Most platforms are numbered 1, 2, whatever... but platforms 3 and 4 are divided as 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, to allow two short trains to use the same platform face at the same time. The 'a' halves are at the western (Swansea) end, the 'b' halves at the eastern (Bristol) end. Long trains occupy the whole platform.
You may also note a sign pointing to platform 5; there is no platform 5 - it got demolished. The plan shows where it was  because the station is struggling to cope with rising train numbers and the Network Rail plan (2008) envisaged rebuilding platform 5 c.2012.
The city's main bus station is a few yards from the main entrance, along with what looks like short-term parking for a few cars. But there is also pay and display parking near the station's southern Penarth Road entrance. Wheels: ChCa.
Our thanks to David Draper for assisting us with information on the station and providing the photos below of the main hall, underpass and traditional platform buildings.
|Please note: the notes and sketches are intended only to give a general impression, and should not be relied upon for more than that. Dudley Mall accepts no liability for errors, but will correct any significant ones notified to us through firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Dudley Mall, 62 Gervase Drive, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 4AT.|
Content: Harry Drummond. Copyright © 2011 Dudley Mall.