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Aber-Carmarthen rail link needed to stop exodus of young people from mid-Wales says former MP

03 Dec 2022 2 minute read
Mark Williams. Picture by the Lib Dems. Left, a Class 175 Transport for Wales train.

An Aberystwyth-Carmarthen rail link is needed to fight the exodus of young people from mid-Wales, a former MP has said.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are campaigning for a rail link between the two towns saying that it would help boost the economy and push more people away from cars towards public transport.

The development of further rail links within Wales is currently being explored by the Welsh Government as part of the Plaid Cymru and Labour cooperation agreement.

There are plans to develop the case for the railway to Aberystwyth by 2025 and outline the design by 2027.

But Mark Williams, who is a former MP for Ceredigion, said that the county “has a massive problem with depopulation”.

“Too many young people leave our county to seek out opportunities elsewhere,” he told the Tivy-Side Advertiser.

“It could also help build up our local economy, especially in towns and villages along the line.

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for the much-needed investment in West Wales even if the Welsh Government show indifference.”


His comment came after the First Minister said that good transport routes between the north and south of Wales have “never been possible”.

Mark Drakeford was asked by Al Jazeera why people needed to travel out of Wales and into England in order to travel quickly between the north and south of the country.

The First Minister however replied that it was “in the end just the nature of our geography”.

“We’re a mountainous country. We’re a small country I sometimes read it said that if you flattened Wales out, we’d be maybe as big as France.

“It’s just that all our land is hilly up and down, and easy routes north and south have never been possible.

“So we manage. We have an effective train service, you can drive – it’s not the most straightforward of routes.

“But we’re used to it, it’s what we’ve dealt with for 2000 years.”

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago

‘The nature of geography’ shame on him for spouting such rubbish in an interview that came across as a scripted (almost) set-up…He could have mentioned Wales’ entire transport system was designed to either get the army to Ireland or facilitate the removal of minerals…

Last edited 1 year ago by Mab Meirion
1 year ago

Drakeford is wrong on that one. Yes, the Carmarthen-Aberystwyth link would be good but I think we should go further. I think we should identify hub towns, set up rail links and freight yards and use that as a basis for establishing manufacturing/processing/production in the surrounding areas. For example, the Teifi Valley – hub towns at Llambed, Llandysul, Castell Newydd Emlyn and Aberteifi, connecting a line from Llambed to Abergwaun giving a freight route to port or eastwards via Carmarthen.

1 year ago
Reply to  Arwyn

To get a revitalised economy built around communities such as those you mention won’t happen unless we have the autonomy to go for it. We need our own enterprising people and to stop relying on people coming in, picking up a bundle of grants and selling out a few years later. Small scale enterprise culture could be a good thing but it will do no long term good if it just replicates the acquisitive large scale corporate culture that prevails today.

1 year ago

MW is of course right in his thoughts but again so sad it was not developed by the Con Lib pact when in power ?

Perhaps 🤔 MW might be still with us ( so to speak ) had it been prioritised then ?

1 year ago

The economic argument for this proposal could be boosted if it’s part of a growth plan for Lampeter.

Charles Coombes
Charles Coombes
1 year ago

More Geology than Geography!
Cost prohibitive 2045 before completed if i am generous.

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