Tuesday, 8 January 2013


Driver training on the Gaer spur (Photo: Ian Brewer)
News that the bus link from the Ebbw Valley railway line to Newport city centre will be extended by two months is of some significance. The bus service was launched in January 2012 and initially was due to run for a year as a pilot. The Welsh Government has agreed an extension to the service that runs between Rogerstone and Newport railway stations until March 31st.

There have been loud persistent calls (for the best part of ten years) for the completion of the long promised permanent rail link from the Ebbw Vale into the City but no concrete action.  The bus service, run by Stagecoach which is timed to connect with trains from Rogerstone, was funded for its initial year at a cost of £119,000 by the Welsh Government. Between January and July 2012 barley 700 people had used the service (South Wales Argus).

It’s time for the Welsh Government to commit resources to completing the final link into Newport something that would benefit a wider area as services could be run off peak between Abergavenny and Ebbw Vale, servicing the valley lines into Newport. What concerns me is that the token gesture bus service may be designed to fail, no enough people use it, something that the Labour in Wales Government in Cardiff may use as evidence to suggest that there is no demand for the service. I have real concerns that the electrification (something that is long overdue in my opinion) of the Great Western Line between Swansea and London may also be used as an excuse for inaction. There has been enough talk, the time for excuses is passed, its time to get the job done, once and for all.

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