Tuesday, 17 July 2012


Like many people I welcome the proposals to introduce electrification to the Valleys Lines rail network, something that is long-overdue and will be an important investment in our country’s somewhat neglected transport system. I view the proposed if limited electrification of parts of Valleys Lines network as a good start, with more to follow. What we should get is the electrification of the following lines:

  • Cardiff Central to Cardiff Queen Street
  • Cardiff Queen Street to Aberdare
  • Cardiff Queen Street to Cardiff Bay
  • Cardiff Queen Street to Coryton
  • Newport to Ebbw Vale
  • Cardiff Central to Maesteg via Pontyclun, Bridgend
  • Abercynon to Merthyr Tydfil
  • Grangetown to Penarth
  • Cardiff Central to Danescourt via Radyr (City Line)
  • Cardiff Queen Street to Rhymney
  • Pontypridd to Treherbert
  • Cardiff Central to Bridgend via Barry - Bridgend (Vale of Glamorgan)
  • Barry to Barry Island
  • Bridgend to Swansea
This is a good start, which combined with the electrification of the main line from Swansea to Paddington, will begin the modernisation of our railway network. This when combined with the Wales and Border franchise being run as not-for-dividend social model (which could happen when the franchise expires in 2018) could lay the ground work for a renewal of our railways in Wales.

The omission of any reference to reopening the final stage of the line from Ebbw Vale to Newport is disappointing and is something that needs immediate action. Over the medium term electrification should be extended to the other Gwent lines, through to Abergavenny and Chepstow.

If the governments in Cardiff and London were serious about our railways then serious consideration also needs to be given to looking at reconnecting some of our towns to the rail network. A good follow on would be reconnecting Caernarfon, Dolgellau and Builth Wells to the network, reopening the Llangefni and Amlwch on Ynys Mon, improving North – South rail communications and getting freight off road and back onto our railways.

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