Politicians and governments are often condemned for their lack of ambition or their lack of the vision thing, but, somewhat more rarely are they condemned for lacking both the vision and the ambition. Yet both the Welsh and UK Governments have displayed a craven lack of ambition and pretty much a complete lack of vision when it comes to developing Wales' railway network.
Both Westminster and Cardiff have failed to take advantage of existing and new EU funding programmes which are available to improve and develop our railways. So rather than seizing the initiative to invest in and improve our railway infrastructure both Governments have sat on their hands and allowed potential funding opportunities to pass them by.
Almost by accident rather than by design, one might think, some of the powers needed to develop and develop our railway system are already possessed by the National Assembly. The Transport (Wales) Act came into effect in February 2006 and gave the National Assembly powers to plan and co-ordinate an integrated transport system, so how much longer do we have to wait to see some vision?”
We need to develop the long term view and invest in our rail services; we need to further develop rail freight and co-ordinate rail and bus services across the whole of Wales and we need to have full control of its transport policy, transport budget and the related planning regulations. There is considerable room for improvement when it comes to the provision and development of our railway services here in Wales.When the franchise is renewed in 2018 the railways in Wales should be run on a not for dividend profit basis, with all profits accrued being ring fenced and reinvested into our railways. The healthy profits run up during the period when the East Coast mainline serve has been run by the Westminster Government after the collapse of the private franchise shows what could and should be achieved here in Wales.