Much hangs on the Comprehensive Spending Review, including the fate of the £1.1 billion pound Swansea to London rail electrification project. Plaid's Ieuan Wyn Jones successfully negotiated the multi-million pound the extension of the proposed upgrade and electrification of the rail line between Swansea and London last year.
The electrification scheme was originally proposed by New Labour it was to go only intended to extend as far as Bristol, and only after the intervention of the Plaid driven One Wales Government did they agreed to electrify the line as far as Swansea.
The ConDem Government in Westminster, if one was being kind could be described as evasive when it comes to committing to the extending the electrification programme into Wales - so much for Wales being a ConDem priority. Now of course it hangs by a thread (alongside much else) as we await the financial white smoke from the Treasury.
One question that should be asked is are we too focused on the rail link to London, which has long needed electrification. Here are some statistics to think about:
Electrified Rail in Europe
Source: UIC Website: http://uic.asso.fr
Electrified Rail in Wales (After 13 years of New Labour Government).
Pretty disgraceful if you ask me? It has been suggested that this particular rail project be put on the back burner so to speak and serious consideration be given to electrifying the valley lines down to the coastal belt. What we are talking about is the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff (and Newport) line, the lines in Western Gwent, the lines down from Rhondda, Cynon and Taff Valleys to Cardiff and lines into Swansea and Bridgend.
I would love to say that it was my idea, but, it's not Sion Barry (in the Western Mail) mentioned it on Friday 24th September. Now if we get creative and use part of WAG's Annual Transport budget, which comes in at around £0.76 billion. If we make creative use of European matched funding then we could be talking about doing the business. Sion Barry - estimating some £200 million for the valley lines into Cardiff. We can do the London link later, lets do something lasting for our Valley communities and lets look doing it now.