We need to improve rail services across Wales, planning to integrate bus and rail timetables and introduce new light rail networks, combined with active travel proposals, to keep Wales moving. Plaid Cymru has put forward a realisticvision of the future of Wales’ transport infrastructure, which includes investing in new light rail networks, community rail and safe walking and cycling routes. We also need to ensure that our public transport networks are fully integrated, so that it is as easy as possible for people to use it in their daily lives.
Lets be honest about the fact that when it comes down the revitalising of our railways (a vital part of our transport infrastructure) Wales comes of second best in comparison with Scotland and parts of England. Part of the reason comes down to the poor devolutionary settlement which failed to give Wales adequate powers in relation to infrastructure developments and part of it relates to a simple lack of will on the part of the recent Labour in Wales Government in Cardiff.
A strong transport network is obviously particularly important in rural communities, which is why Plaid Cymru wants to create a fully integrated public transport network. It is worth noting that back February 2006,The Transport (Wales) Act, which came into effect, this gave the National Assembly powers to plan and co-ordinate an integrated transport system.
How much longer do we have to wait to see some real vision and action rather than words? In the absence of any real leadership from Cardiff Bay and Westminster the rail companies have continued to ramp up rail fares, attempting to reduce rail services, all with the tacit co-operation of successive Westminster Government's (regardless of their political hue) and the Department for transport (in London).
Such duplicity has never been acceptable - it’s time for our government in Cardiff to take the long term view, to bite the bullet and actually put its money where its mouth is and work to redevelop our rail services, boost the development of rail freight and to co-ordinate rail and bus services across the whole of Wales. To do this effectively Wales needs to have full control of it's transport policy and transport budget devolved as quickly as possible and the franchise when it is renewed in 2017 needs to be run on a not for profit basis.
The Party of Wales supports public ownership over the railway and we will continue to seek unrestricted control over awarding future rail franchises. When Plaid Cymru was in government we made investing in infrastructure a priority, and Wales continues to feel the benefit of this investment. We are ready to continue with this project, and invest in rail, road and digital infrastructure right across Wales.
In Monmouth constituency we need to ensure that our railway stations have more frequent stopping services and have safe, secure and reasonably priced park and ride facilities at Abergavenny, Severn Tunnel and Chepstow. New railway stations at Llanwern and Magor and at Caerleon / Ponthir would do much to cut congestion.
Our bus services need to be fully integrated with our rail services and our railway stations should be fully accessible with easy access to services for all passengers. The National Assembly should commit to redevelop and expand our rail services, as has happened in Scotland and some parts of England. Personally I would work for feasibility studies into a new station near Little Mill / Penperlleni and into the reopening of the line to Usk and the construction of a new station west of the town.