I've spent a lot of my time on the train and been to a lot of train stations. Mainly Crewe for some reason. Platform 6. An exciting life eh?
But I like Cardiff Central. I'm not an anorak, not that sort of like, but there is something, well, real about it. For a main station it is still pretty small, with four main platforms (kind of one either side of two lines, if you know what I mean).
The paved area out front is a bit of a hobo magnet, but is a pleasant enough place to wait for a pick up or have a coffee while you wait for your train. Everything you would expect in a train station is in the front foyer.
Its once you've gone through the ticket gates that Cardiff Central station becomes distinctive. The main access to the platforms is through a tunnel running perpendicular to the lines, so you go up stairs to get to the platform. As you come up the stairs it is like taking a step back in time. The station has retained it's white picket like awnings, cream tiles and green railings and you almost expect a steam train to pull up. It is always a heart warming sight as you pull in after a long journey.
One word to the wise, however, the main car park is at the back. However, there is a ticket gate to get in, so you'd have to get through two ticket gates to get to the ticket office? So, if you park at the back you have to walk all the way round. And there is only a drop off point at the front which is generally populated by taxis. Perplexing to the uninitiated!
station in an ugly area. I should know I took the scenic route everywhere as
I kept getting lost nearby! Busy too. River
Taff was diverted as the area where the station is was prone to flooding.
Or in Welsh, Caerdydd Canolog. Cardiff Central is a major station in downtown Cardiff close to the Millenium Statium. The station has 7 platforms with service connecting throughout Wales as well as the Great Western Line to London, Cross Country to Manchester and Birmingham. There is a first class lounge on the First Great Western line, but it's not open on Sunday.
Not a whole lot of services inside the barricades, in fact I only spotted an Upper Crust kiosk on the platform. In the main concourse, WH Smith, Upper Crust and a Marks & Spencer Simply Food.
Off to the south, get a picture of Brains, Cardiff's own beer brewery.
Okay, I will happily acknowledge that this is not the most beautiful station when compared to Paddington, Antwerp of Wellington (I like that station particularly). But neither is Cardiff Central too grotty either.
It is a nice space, and one of the nicest stations in Wales, if only because it's one of the largest. There is a large entrance hall complete with several shops, a cafe and a bar, so if you had to wait around at any station, this is a good one to choose.
With 8 platforms, services go regularly to a wide variety of destinations, including Nottingham, Birmingham, Bristol and London, along with more local services.
But be warned, this station can get very busy when there are large events going on in Cardiff. Perhaps check your times carefully on these days so you can whisk yourself through the system quickly, rather than hang around on platforms with football supporters.
Cardiff Central is my lifeline, without it there would be no visits to home, my lady, my friends, nothing! Not one to look up and take a train stations decor in I really don't mind as I spend as little time as possible in there thanks to it's excessive heaving crowds at rush hour.
The WHsmiths is pretty handy there but so over priced thanks to it's convenience, however there is a M&S round the corner which does great lunches for decent prices, but that also is a nightmare if there's a body of people in there.
Staff here have always been very friendly and helpful with info and I've never really suffered with delays ever as well, that's quite a surprise for British transport.
With several friends in Cardiff, the central train station is a popular stop for me. In the heart of the city, there are a few things you should know if you're planning a trip involving this station. Firstly, the barriers at the front entrance are, well, I'm not sure how to describe it but the word 'slow' comes to mind. On several occasions a machine has refused to accept my (valid) ticket and on the most recent occasion this resulted in me missing my train back to Bristol by mere seconds - very frustrating!
Another thing to plan for is any rugby game remotely involving Wales.
There are several sports pubs close to the station and the Millennium Stadium is only a short walk away so on match days the station is choc-a-bloc. Often the front entrance of the station is shut so you will be directed to the back entrance but it's not hard to navigate around. The station itself is heaving with rowdy sports fans so allow yourself plenty of time to get to the platform when planning your journey.
I used to commute back and forth between Bristol and Cardiff, so I've spent way too much time in this station.
First, here are some good things about it:
- The building itself is attractive enough, and the main entrance / ticket office area has plenty of space and light.
- The queues for tickets generally go down quickly, so you don't have to wait too long (unless it's peak rush hour, or there's a rugby game or concert on at the Millennium Stadium).
- It's well-located, smack bang in the heart of the city centre (unlike Bristol Temple Meads, which is about 15 minutes' walk from the main shops). It's also right next to the bus station, which is convenient if you're travelling on to other parts of the city (again, unlike Bristol's Bus Station, which is some way away from the train station).
Now for the bad things about Cardiff Central:
- The toilets are grim. They're dirty, scruffy, stinky and tiny. Even if you're a really slight build it's virtually impossible to manoeuvre into the cubicle, especially if you're carrying any shopping bags. The all-in-one sinks and hand dryers are virtually useless. Avoid at all costs.
- When the rugby is on, it's a nightmare. It's heaving, and you need to leave an extra few minutes to get through the turnstiles or you could miss your train.
- While the choice of cafés and shops isn't bad for a station of this size, including a very welcome M & S Food (plus an Uppercrust, WH Smiths, and a shabby-looking Spar), it's hopeless if you want decent cup of coffee. You're better off picking one up before you get to the station, from a Starbucks or the Coffee #1 just outside the station.
Cardiff Railway Station is situated a stones throw from the Millennium Stadium, and the main shopping area of Cardiff. It's also located immediately behind the bus station and so it must be one of the most conveniently sited stations in the UK.
Housed in a beautiful period building, with modern interior, it's always kept spotlessly clean, and never seems to get too overcrowded. The staff are a pleasant lot, always willing to help, and the layout is pretty straightforward, making you whole travel experience a joy. There's a few places to buy food and drink, but they can be a little pricey. With Coffee #1 just around the corner, I recommend that you pay them a visit if you have time, or there's a couple of cheaper newsagent type shops nearby as well.
A central spot, in Cardiff's city centre. It is where you can commute to the world...
I have travelled recently, from here to Bath Spa train station using my Rail Card, giving me a slight discount. For a the Any Day Return tickets they cost around £12.50p per ticket and you can get the Plus Bus day tickets for around an extra couple of pounds in both places that you travel to.
There are queues for intermediate tickets; and for future travel tickets, and you can buy tickets so many days or weeks in advance, and you can buy the same type of tickets online or on the train it's self.
You have to be mightily quick or you may miss your train, they don't wait around for long at all.
Most of the trains are very clean and tidy and they have many comfy seats. The trains are extremely fast and it takes just an hour from Cardiff to get to Bath.
There are toilets on the trains; sometimes food trolleys, friendly and helpful staff. I recommend for all and you can take dogs, suitcases, bikes, push chairs, and wheel chair access.
Cardiff central, is a fair old walk if you don't live in the town centre and if you get a taxi, get off around the corner from the station, or be stuck in traffic, watching the ticker roll up helplessly.
Inside the station is a big clock, so you can't miss the train even if you tried. The arriving and departing trains are displayed on a mechanical notice board that looms over awaiting passengers, there is information about platforms and times, in both English and Welsh. There is a coffee shop, a W H Smiths and a Marks and Spencers (my choice) to grab a sandwich or a magazine for your journey.
There are also announcements in English and Welsh, so unless you have headphones in, it really is unlikely you will miss a train, due to bad signage or lack of attention from staff. Speaking of which, staff are always helpful and plentiful.
For those among you who are cheeky, the barriers tend not to be closed late at night, so if you didn't buy a ticket, it is not the end of the world- but you didn't hear that from me!
I commute to and from Cardiff on a regular basis. The easiest route back to London is a train from Cardiff Central direct to London Paddington.
On one occasion I was travelling with my heavily pregnant cousin.Whilst at the station we requested special assistance to be waiting for us at Paddington to help with our luggage. We boarded the train and everything was going smoothly until we got to Reading.
At Reading the train stopped... we waited... and waited but the train did not continue. Then came the dreaded announcement that the train had to terminate here due to technical difficulties.
My first thought was "Great, how are we going to manage getting off this train with all our luggage without the assistance we had waiting for us."
Then.... like an angel sent to us from heaven.... came the ticket conductor. He had received a message form Cardiff central that two passengers needed assistance. He lifted all of our heavy luggage off of the broken train and boarded us onto a brand new shiney one that he assured us worked. Not only that he seated us in first class which was an added luxury and really made our day.
Here Here for everybody working at Cardiff central train station!
Many a time have I either arrived at or departed from Cardiff Central and it's a place I've never given much thought to except in my view being the gateway to Cardiff. The other day when I was waiting for a train to Swansea I realised something about the station which puts me slightly off and that is there is no toilets on ticket side of the barriers. Ok, call me stupid but you're probably thinking why this is such a big deal and the reason is its happened to me quite a few times where I've needed to catch a train and I've been so desperate that I've had to practically run through the ticket barrier and get up to the platform where the toilets are few and far between and furthermore are simply filthy.
On the same occasion the queue for the ticket office was huge so I decided to use one of the automated machines It so confusing and I've these thing many times in London to buy tube tickets. The station staff weren't really any help so the only thing I could do was wait in the box office line, and when I asked for my ticket with a rail card a felt like I was being looked down and asked to produce my card in such a rude manner it was like I was trying to get something for free even though I paid £25 for having the privilege of this card
All things considered I go to Cardiff Central out of necessity and not for a day out.
There is something about railway stations that make me want to impulsively jump on a train and just see where I'll end up (obviously I'd have ot buy a ticket). They have that romantic "I could be anywhere this time tomorrow" feel (as long as that anywhere is close to a train line of course).
Having said that I guess you'll know exactly where you're headed when its nnounced over the speakers on the train.
If you're living in Cardiff or haven't ventured out of it then there is a world of other destinationsin the valleys and for no more thann a tenner the valleys are your oyster.
Dear Cardiff Central Railway Station,
I am writing to tell you how much I don't like you. Do you realize we're in the year 2010, maybe you should have thought of having a bit of a spruce up since 1950.
I travel to you a lot from Cathays, because I have no choice and I quite like to go places, sometimes I have to go places, sadly leading to me having to visit you.
Sometimes I'm a but hungry and I look around to see my only option is upper crust and a 50 year old vending machine, this makes me sad. I sometimes would quite like something to read, but I can't buy anything as I would have to leave the station in order to do so.
I'm sure a lot of people who use you as a connection station feel the same sadness about this and have no option but to read a metro that someone has left lying around, that they have to go hungry rather than have another upper crust and rather piss themselves than use your grubby little toilet.
Please Cardiff Central, burn to the ground, just for me, I would really appreciate it.
It's surprising that when Cardiff was having money poured over it in an attempt to bring the city into the twenty-first century, the station was completely forgotten.
So much of the city has been revamped, rethought and redesigned, and yet Cardiff Central Station has been left in a mess. I remember when I first visited the city, I thought it seemed grim and uninviting. The front of the station is unattractive and reminds of an Eastern European stop rather than Capital city in the United Kingdom.
Considering that the Millennium Stadium is a short walk away and Cardiff's increasingly taking a place on the music stage it is unbelievable that the powers that be are happy with the image of Cardiff on arrival (and exit).
Of course, there's more to a city than its train station but Cardiff Central urgently needs some attention. A lick of paint, a new floor and a new front entrance please. Oh and the first thing you see of a city shouldn't be a Burger King.
I despise Cardiff Station. It depresses me for some reason. I just find there's something so grubby and drab about it. It isn't old and grubby in an "it's got character" kind of way. It's just old and grubby. It's not really in keeping with the new "modern" Cardiff and it's quite small for a capital city. On match days or events days it's an absolute nightmare and it seems that even though this is a fairly common occurance they still mess stuff up. The amount of times I've been made late or they've changed the schedules is unreal. I'm also biased against it as I've spent many a miserable night after a night out in Cardiff sleeping in its cold, depressing waiting room, afraid to actually fall asleep in case the psycho sitting in the chair opposite is just one snoring stranger away from snapping. The front of the station is decent enough but inside it's a nightmare.
Not looking forward to my train journey in a few hours......
Cardiff Central (Caerdydd Canolog in Welsh) is the Welsh Capital's principal station, and the busiest station in Wales. Over 8 million passengers use it every year, and nearly a million people change trains here, making it the tenth busiest in the UK outside London. As well as an extensive range of long-distance services, it's the hub of the busy 'Valley Lines' suburban railway network.
The station was originally opened in 1850 by the South Wales Railway running from Swansea to Gloucester (and from there to London), although the bridge over the Wye at Chepstow did not open until a year later. The opening of the Severn Tunnel in 1886 considerably shortened the route to Bristol and to London, and was made shorter again by the opening of the direct Swindon-Severn Tunnel line through Wootton Bassett in 1903.
The original buildings at Cardiff were rebuilt several times, but the present station dates from 1934, when the Great Western Railway rebuilt the whole station. This included an impressive main entrance in white Portland stone, with platform buildings faced in cream glazed tiles, under long canopies. The entrance, concourse and platform buildings are all listed.
The station was known as 'Cardiff General' until 1973, and many locals still refer to it as 'the General'. Further refurbishments in 1983 and in 2000 saw a second entrance and car park opened on the south side of the station, an additional platform (numbered '0') on the north side, the former parcels subway opened to passengers and the square in front of the station opened up and paved attractively in stone. This has improved access around the station considerably. The station has fully bilingual notices, timetables and announcements (in Welsh first).
Inter-city services operate to London via Swindon and Reading every 30 minutes during week-days, and hourly to Swansea. There are also medium and long-distance services to Bristol every 30 minutes and hourly to Bath, Salisbury, Southampton, Portsmouth, Taunton, Hereford, Gloucester, Shrewsbury, Carmarthen, Manchester, Birmingham, Derby and Nottingham. There are also less frequent direct trains to other destinations, including via the North Wales coast to Anglesey and to Milford Haven in West Wales.
Frequent suburban services operate to Pontypridd, Caerphilly, Rhymney, Maesteg, Merthyr Tydfil, Aberdare, Barry, Penarth and the Rhondda Valley. New local services include hourly trains to Bridgend via Cardiff Airport (Rhoose) and to Ebbw Vale, both on formerly closed lines that have been reopened.
Services include a taxi rank, car parking, a first-aid post, cash-points, a First-Class Lounge, toilets with baby-changing facilities, covered cycle storage. The station is fully accessible with step-free access. There are several shops and refreshment facilities, including a W H Smiths and M&S Simply Food. Cardiff's main bus station is in Central Square, immediately in front of the station a rare example of integrated public transport provision in the UK!
I'm inclined to give Cardiff station a bad review because me train was cancelled today and I had to wait an extra 30 minutes.
It did give me time to have a look around though, there's not much to look at once you're through the barriers and on to the platforms.
The subway reminds me of Clapham Junction station.
There's an Upper Crust selling baguettes and drinks on platforms 1 & 2. Other platforms have vending machines. Each platform has a few phoneboxes, which was good as my phone had run out of battery and I passed some of the time on a good old fashioned pay phone chatting to my boyfriend.
The main concourse is lovely, bright and airy and the bus station is just outside it. The Millenium Stadium is also only a very short stroll away.
I'm a fan of Cardiff Central Train Station. It's big and bustling and you get a great glimpse of the city landscape from the platforms.
Downstairs, where you can buy your ticket from the teller or from one of the machines, you'll find a pasty kiosk, a confectionery kiosk, a WHSmith (which doesn't open until 7am and sometimes a bit later than that) a baguette and coffee shop (which sells alcohol) and a Marks & Spencer. Stocking up on stuff for the journey isn't a problem here. Oh, and there's a big clock hanging above the entrance to M&S. Big clocks are coooooooooooool.
There are cash machines out the front of the station along with a kiosk selling newspapers (handy if you're an early morning traveller as Smiths probably on't be open). Out front is also a taxi rank and an NCP car park. The station has its own open-air carpark out the back, but spaces are limited.
Upstairs on the platforms you've got your standard stuff - toilets, waiting area, kiosks, benches etc.
For newbies to the Cardiff, when exiting the station via the front, you'll be facing Cardiff Central Bus Station (currently undergoing massive renovation). Take a right and walk until you reach the Great Western Pub and you will find yourself on St Mary's Street (lots of bars and shops). Take a left and walk the whole length of the street andta daaaah - the castle is there at the end.
I've spent a lot of time at this station. I have to say that over the last few years, it's become a bit better than it was- it has its good points and low points.
The staff now make a bit more effort to actually tell people where their trains are, which is a big improvement because previously it was guesswork.
The front area is very grand and spacious and the M&S Food very useful. The walk to the trains is a bit drab but depending on where you stand in the station you can get quite a good view across a small bit of Cardiff.
However you can't escape the fact that it's still unavoidably a drab and miserable place to get stuck, and paying a fiver for a dry Upper Crust baguette with hardly any filling in it is not going to be the highlight of anyone's day.
If anyone's familiar with some of the quite frankly rather beautiful stations in London, you will be rather disappointed with Cardiff central train station. The building itself isn't to bad, but the architecture could hardly be considered impressive. The station caters to both local and national trains, going to a good variety of locations such as London, Manchester, and Birmingham. There is also an ok selection of shops and cafes e.g. M&S food, WH Smith (good range of books), Uppercrust, and a Spar (a bit unnecessary). My big problem with Cardiff central is that it gets rather rough at night. They do have police on duty quite often, but it is rather unpleasant when you arrive. Roughness aside, if you need to catch a train out of Cardiff, this is the only place to go.
For a city such as Cardiff this station is very standard. It is certainly no Paddington however. The management of this station appear to favour the event visitors over the everyday users of the services as whenever there is something big going on in Cardiff the stewards come out in force to hinder your journey home. They make it harder for you to get to your platform on time as barriers are put up and train services are often changed. The central underpass could easily be separated into two sides, left and right but the management always put the barriers across so you have to speak to a steward or wait for the mass crowd to leave before you can make your way to the platform. On numerous occasions I have been held up just a minute or two too long and missed the train I need to catch. Once, I even told the steward where I was going and instead of informing the crowd of commuters I was with that the platform had been changed, he allowed us to continue to the usual platform. By the time we had worked out the train was elsewhere, jogged down the stairs and back up the other flight to the correct platform, at least 10 of us had missed the train just in time to see it leaving. What a tease that was.
Most days however, things appear to run fairly smoothly. It only ever goes wrong when I really need it to work as it should. It must be the luck of the Irish. The toilets on the platforms are as standard, smelly and dim. They could use better lighting and a good clean down, in fact, they could use a good refurbishment. As soon as you get outside the station to your left you will find cash machines which, if you are not from Cardiff, or a regular visitor, you may head straight to and not think twice about using. I urge you to be aware that these machines are often targeted by scammers who attach devices that will collect your card details and pin number when you enter it. They will then use this to take money from your account or sell the details on to someone else who will do this.
Also when you leave the station, you should be aware that there will likely be a large number of alcoholics and/or homeless people in this area. They seem to hang around on the corner by Burge King and I have no idea why the area isn't a no-drinking zone. Expect to see some things you would rather not and possibly be asked for money or cigarettes.
Cardiffs main bus and rail centre - currently being refurbished to hopefully make all those badly needed improvements to what is one of the poorest designed city centre stations around.
A confusing taxi rank set up and poor car access via a traffic light system design by a sadist masquerading as a traffic planner means that those making it on foot to the station or arriving on a bus will be OK but cars?
If you're new to Cardiff the challenge of working out how the city bus routes work awaits you - good luck.
At least the trains have got it right, but after all they were here first and were able to set it up to suit themselves and their layout is pretty straightforward.
All the usual facilities - papers, cofees, snacks etc can be found in the rail foyer as can be found a mini M&S food store with a good all round selection of goodies with late opening hours too - worth knowing for late night needs.
Not the most modern station. Really needs bringing in to the 21st Century. The food here is poor, very little choice and over priced. This stations saving grace is every member of staff. They are welsh and proud of it and all seem to take great pride in their job. All very helpful and always smiling. For people who visit Cardiff it's a great welcome and is great for me as when i head back to london i know that when i come back they'll be many a smile waiting to welcome me back. Wales, you just have to love it.
Quite a large station with a number of platforms, no plaform 5- but they do have a platform 0 as well. There is a couple of places to get food- though they are rather expensive. Best place is probably the M&S food before you get onto the platforms themselves. There are 3 automatic ticket machines where you can pick up/buy tickets. There is a drop off point right outside, but it can get very busy, as this is part of the taxi rank as well. Bus station is right in front of the station as well
A busy train station situated in the heart of Cardiff.The platforms are a bit dated and staff can be difficult to find. there is an M & S outlet on the gloor floor and an upper crust between platforms 1 & 2. Car parking is about £7.50 for 24 hrs
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