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Campaigners renew calls to reintroduce rail links in west Wales

20 Jul 2023 3 minute read
Pwllheli railway station

Transport campaigners have reiterated calls to reintroduce rail links across the west and north of Wales in the light of transport issues surrounding this year’s National Eisteddfod.

Traws Link Cymru (TLC) has warned that many of the 150,000 competitors and visitors travelling to the small village of Boduan, near Pwllheli, between August 5-12, will have to use cars, buses or taxis to arrive and travel around the area.

The nearest train station to the Eisteddfod site is Pwllheli (Cambrian Railway), which is four miles away, and Bangor (30 miles) which is last mainland station on the North Wales Coast line between Crewe and Holyhead.

The journey from Aberystwyth a to Pwllheli by train takes approximately three-and-a-half-hours.

The same journey is about an hour and a half by car.

There are no trains going from Bangor to Caernarfon or on to Pwllheli – and there is no connection to Boduan.

The line was closed in 1972 and with it the connection between Caernarfon and Afon Wen.


TLC is calling for visitors to the Eisteddfod this year to support its campaign to reintroduce rail links in west Wales.

An on-line petition calling for the reopening of the railway lines from Bangor to Caernarfon and on to Afonwen as well as from Aberystwyth to Carmarthen attracted over 11,000 signatures in just a few months.

With the petition exceeding 10,000 signatures it is now likely to be debated at the Senedd.

A Welsh Government feasibility study for the reopening of the Aberystwyth to Carmarthen line, completed in 2018, showed no significant obstacles to reopening, and the Senedd debate could lead to further feasibility assessments for the northern sections of the railway link.

However, rail expert Professor Stuart Cole has said the economic justification for reopening the line is a long way off, if at all.

Reopening the line between Bangor and Caernarfon has been included in Wales’ Transport Strategy for many years and campaigners said there is a business case for this with through trains to Caernarfon from Manchester Airport, Cardiff and London giving access for visitors to the area.

A TLC spokesperson said: “Reinstating the track south from Caernarfon would greatly improve access to Penrhyn Llŷn (Peninsula) and the Cambrian Coast.

“Journeys such as Pwllheli to London would be possible in under four hours via Caernarfon compared with the current six hours via Machynlleth and Birmingham.

“Similarly access to places such as Lampeter, Tregaron and the Teifi Valley would be much quicker via Swansea than is currently the case, thus opening West Wales and making north-south Wales journeys possible without going via England.”

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G Horton-Jones.
G Horton-Jones.
8 months ago

A little bit of research will show you that rail links closed by Beeching across England are. being actively restored
So why not in Wales???
Goves levelling down for Wales seems to be to turn routes into yuppy cycle paths for a select number of holiday makers or extremely fit long distance hikers see
Carmarthen to Llandeilo and now Whitland to Cardigan is in the frame.
Wales is not Englands theme park and never will be but the days of the Engkish taking the p*** are fast drawing to a close.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
8 months ago

The article mentions Stuart Cole.
A thought for him. Measure the contribution, not the cost.

8 months ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

I agree John.

Stuart has been a light in the darkness for extending rail transport and community access.

On this occasion however what he might offer is guidance to western Wales on what IS achievable and what is realistic.

Now he is at the centre or perhaps near to centre of policy making influence again – the ever rising cost of good friend St Marks legacy project @Greater Cardiff Metro scheme might be influencing his current comments. ?

Offer some guidelines Stuart

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
8 months ago
Reply to  Richard

Don’t forget that Michael Gove, the Levelling up Secretary has recently returned £1.9 billion to the Treasury that he did not get around to spending (Guardian) Clearly a small fraction of that would have given us a north south route to the west as well as the one to the east. It seems that Cymru is a non place as far as Westminster Tories are concerned.

Charles Coombes
Charles Coombes
8 months ago

Good to see the organisers have thought the getting there and back issue through!
Shuttle buses seem the only solution.

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