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Written by Anthony Lloyd - 30 Jun 2005
last update by Ben Sweeney - 07 Feb 2017
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Location notes
This is the mainline railway station serving Cardiff on the Great Western (South Wales) Mainline. Situated in the city centre located next to the Cardiff Millennium Stadium and Cardiff Arms Park sites.
Railway type and traffic
This is a main line station with freight and lots of passenger traffic. As a general guide to what runs where:

Platform 0 - when not in use services use Platform 1
* Central Trains services to Birmingham (158 and 170s)

Platform 1 - Eastbound Interurban services.
* Arriva Trains Wales to Manchester, Liverpool and Holyhead via Crewe
    142, 143, 150, 153, 158, 175
* Central Trains to Birmingham and Nottingham
    158, 170

* Wessex Trains to Bristol, Portsmouth, Brighton, Exeter and Penzance
    143, 150, 153, 158

Platform 2 - Eastbound Intercity Services
* First Great Western services to London Paddington via Bristol Parkway
    HSTs (Cl.43), 180
* Virgin Cross Country to Bristol, Birmingham and onwards to almost anywhere.     220, 221
* Arriva Trains Wales to Newport
    142, 143, 150, 153

Platform 3 - Westbound Services
* First Great Western services to Swansea and Fishguard
    HSTs (Cl.43), 180
* Arriva Trains Wales to Swansea and West Wales
    142, 143, 150, 153, 158, 175

Platform 4 - Westbound Terminating Services
* Arriva Trains Wales from Manchester, Liverpool and Holyhead via Crewe     150, 153, 158, 175
* Central Trains from Birmingham and Nottingham
    158, 170
* Wessex Trains from Bristol, Portsmouth, Brighton, Exeter and Penzance
    143, 150, 153, 158
* Virgin Cross Country from Bristol, Birmingham
    220, 221

Platform 6 - towards Queen Street

Platform 7 - towards Barry, Penarth, Bridgend via Rhoose, Maesteg
* Valley Lines services.

Also freight operated by DB Schenker and Freightliner pass through the station on lines between platforms 2 and 3 in either direction and also DB Schenker through to Merthyr along platform 6 and across through towards Queen Street.

If you go to the West (Swansea) end of the platforms you can see some of Canton Depot and the reception/holding sidings for trains starting at Central. (Do not use Platforms 3/4 though as there is a building at the end that restricts view.
Recommended to use Platform 1/2.
Link to Real Time Trains
RTT Link Cardiff Central
This link should be close to the location, but may not be the actual location so please check the page. This link will take you to what is happening 'around now'. Dates and times can be changed at the top of the page.
This is a Main Line station operated by Arriva Trains Wales (formerly operated by First Great Western) with lots of staff in the area. They do not seem to mind spotters but they are not very friendly if you need to know something (this is true if you are not a spotter though).
There is always some event on at the Millennium Stadium so best avoiding team colours as it's bound to be the wrong ones.

There are ticket barriers on stairway exits from the station but not if you use the lifts. This is a warning as the Revenue Protection staff can be a little over Zealous about taking tickets off you.
Road directions
The station is very well sign posted from the M4 roads into Cardiff.

Click here to set up your location for directions to this location

Cardiff Central map co-ordinates
There is a short stay car park at the rear of the station of there are plenty of car parks around the city centre.
Public transport
By Train:
Mainline Services run from most of England and Wales. If not from your area Change at London, Birmingham or Crewe.

By Bus:
There is a bus station directly outside the Railway Station and National Express also run services from here to Birmingham, Swansea and London.

If travelling by Train into Cardiff and you wish to use the buses around the city on the same day I recommend purchasing a 'PlusBus' ticket for 1.50 when you buy your BR ticket.

Click here to set up your location for directions to this location
The station has toilets on most platforms and has an Upper Crust on Platform 1. On the main concourse you also have another Upper Crust, WHSmiths, Spar and M&S Simply Food. Just outside the station in Central Square there is a Burger King.
Within walking distance there is a Wetherspoons (walk past BK, along the bus station and turn left at Greggs).
McDonalds and Subway nearby (at the Wetherspoons turn Right along St. Marys Street).
For a better view of Cardiff Canton Depot travel from Cardiff Central to Ninnian Park or for a longer journey to Radyr (via City Line) and return via Queen Street.
There is a Travelodge on St. Marys Street alongside the Taxi Rank just outside the station.
Sun Compass
Sun Compass using Suncalc by brought to you by Vladimir Agafonkin:
It might be necessary to adjust the time to suit your visit, this link should open with the current day.
Cardiff Central

Googly map
Streetmap links
Cardiff Central general view map
Cardiff Central close up map

Windows Local Live Link - image quality may vary
Cardiff Central

Who likes this location on facebook

Railway Gen Group
Rail Gen South Wales
Photographic notes
There are now ticket barriers at all entrances including the lifts. You can purchase a 2.00 ticket to access the platform (ticket to the next closest station and return). They may just let enthusiasts through if one asks politely The lines through Cardiff station run on a roughly east - west axis. In the morning the sun will be best suited for east bound workings and in the afternoon for westbound workings.

General views - All photographs © Anthony Lloyd unless otherwise stated
Fig 1 - Looking east

Fig 1 - Looking east

Fig 2 - Looking west

Fig 2 - Looking west

Location Video

Mobile phone video by LLion Jones. A eastbound MGR departure and a westbound unit arrival.

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