All the new ‘England and Wales’ rail projects announced by Westminster are in England

A train passess Castell Coch near Cradiff. Picture: Train Photos (CC BY-SA 2.0)

All of Westminster’s new rail projects announced earlier this week, described as being for “England and Wales”, are in England, Plaid Cymru has revealed.

A policy document published by the Westminster Government calls itself a “strategic vision” to deliver a “£47.9bn overhaul of the network in England and Wales” but makes no commitments at all for Wales.

The new projects announced for England they come following a decision by Westminster to U-turn on a commitment to electrify the Great Western Main Line all the way to Swansea.

The neglect was a direct result of Labour and Tory MPs blocking the devolution of rail infrastructure to Wales via the Wales Bill, Plaid Cymru said.

It was revealed earlier this year that the Wales & the Borders franchise made up 6% of the UK rail network but had only received 1% of Network Rail’s spending on improvements since 2011.

Plaid Cymru’s transport spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, called on Westminster to urgently transfer responsibility to the Welsh Government, “to allow Wales to rebuild itself”.

“Wales’s railways are in a dire state, and in desperate need of upgrading,” he said.

“Plaid Cymru has been shouting about this for far too long but the situation is serious. We are still joined only by Moldova and Albania as the only three countries in Europe who haven’t electrified their railways.

“Our creaking transport infrastructure is not only impacting on commuters but is also hampering productivity, damaging our economy and contributing to the depressed wages and standard of living across our country.”

‘Do it ourselves’

What was most frustrating was that Wales could upgrade its own railways, but wasn’t being allowed to do so, he said.

“This is not the case in Scotland – they can get on with building a transport network fit for the 21st century,” he said.

“Meanwhile the people of Wales have to put up with an overly congested, unreliable and inefficient service, powerless to turn the situation around.

“Welsh citizens pay tax just like English citizens, but we have to send our taxes to Westminster only for them to use it all on England-only projects like HS2 and Crossrail 2, and leave Wales behind.

“This is the result of the Labour Party working with the Tories to block the devolution of rail infrastructure in the Wales Bill.

“It was recommended by the Silk Commission, then vetoed by the Labour Party during the St David’s Day Process that led to the creation of the Wales Bill.

“The only way Wales will drag itself up off the bottom of the economic league table, is if we take responsibility and do it ourselves.

“Westminster-rule will never work for Wales so we have to demand the powers to invest in ourselves.”

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14 Comments

  1. How about a sleeper service between central wales and london? Can be done quickly. Capital cost is the train itself. Make a huge difference to those who try to do business from the middle of wales. No new track or airport to spend 20 years arguing over. Existing tracks not used at night.

    The Scottish sleeper trains are considered part of the uk strategy infrastructure. In europe, sleeper trains are common place.

    Why not? Because it would not benefit the m4 corridor or areas that vote labour or tory.

  2. What is striking is the unbelieving hypocracy of those who seek to represent Welsh interests in W/Minster and are consistently negligent on Welsh matters. If it wasn’t for Plaid Cymru representation you would think Wales was redesignated western England. What a disgrace.

  3. Interesting to see that the Marxist Leninists are prepared to vote with the tory fascists to prevent us getting more devolution and a decent railway system. But then if you are foolish enough to vote for people inspired by marx lenin stalin and the rest of the red nutters you deserve everything you get.

  4. the lack of investment is to be expected by the Westminster Government and shocking but cynically depressing to hear that the Welsh MP’s are voting against this (Owen Smith springs to mind). words and letters of objection are fine but will Plaid support direct action and protest as a way of highlighting the issue in the main stream press. BBC Wales is falling well short in its responsibility to report on stories such as these. they would rather report on rugby or those stories which they feel have a ‘positive’ aspect.

  5. Benjiman L. Angwin

    A rail system reinforced by a Liberal and pro-Wales mind-set would seek to enable people the ability to obtain wealth through work, and encourage trade and prosperity within their native communities by establishing partnerships between Welsh businesses and communities.

    The rail system we have is the product of British socialism and British conservatism. Wales’ railways are a product of extractive conservative mind-sets and centralising socialist ones. We have the choice to do something else if we but act upon the will to do it.

  6. There are significant towns that should be reconnected to the main rail network. In the north Caernarfon, Llangefni, Llangollen and Mold spring to mind. None of these would involve great lengths of new track and all are the sorts of towns that in other European countries would never have lost their main railway connection.

  7. Buildings railways to connect people within Wales sounds too much like nation building and will never be allowed.

    All the best ideas are discarded because they may help to create unity and a sense of economic and common cultural purpose.

    We cannot be allowed the means to be successful in our own right, because it might inspire us to dare to dream bigger.

    Far better to criticise us for disunity and lack of aspiration – things that nicely keep us in our place.

    • Graham John Hathaway

      These sentiments stretched across the whole of the so called British empire where the sun never set. Unitil most realised their self belief, and true origins to declare independence from a rogue existence. The question is only when will those Countries propping up a failed Union realise the same. I suspect Wales will be the last to climb out of its misery, by default.

  8. Projects like HS2 -vanity incarnate – will suck up immense amounts of capital beyond their already inflated “budgets”. Yet our electorate will return M.P’s who have stood idly by and allowed these travesties to happen. Only answer is to come away – secede – from this mess and elect people willing to get on with the business of real government for the people of Wales. All the ridiculous stuff that is happening around us now and the ease with which projects in Wales are either cancelled or declined is ample evidence that it’s time to break away.

  9. The Borders are NOT in Wales. As long as Wales fails to have a railway directly connecting North to South within Wales the British Government will retain every right to the franchise.

  10. Tame Frontiersman

    Membership of the House of Commons Transport Committee

    SCOTLAND
    Ronnie Cowan (SNP, Inverclyde)
    NORTHERN IRELAND
    Paul Girvan (DUP, South Antrim)
    CORNWALL
    Steve Double (Conservative, St Austell and New Quay)
    ENGLAND
    Lian Greenwood – Chairperson (Labour, Nottingham South)
    Luke Pollard (Labour and Co-op, Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport)
    Graham Stringer (Labour, Blackley and Broughton)
    Daniel Zeichner (Labour, Cambridge)
    Martin Vickers (Conservative, Cleethorpes)
    Iain Stewart (Conservative, Milton Keynes South)
    Huw Merriman (Conservative, Bexhill and Battle)

    The Transport Committee has launched an inquiry into the current planning and investment delivery system. The deadline for written submissions is Monday 18 December 2017

    The process for deciding the funding and outputs of Network Rail for the control period 2019-2024 is underway. Against this background, the Committee wishes to understand whether the current system of planning and delivering investment in rail infrastructure is adequate.

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