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Current infrastructure inadequate for event like Eisteddfod say rail link campaigners

24 Jul 2022 3 minute read
Left, a Class 175 Transport for Wales train. Right, the National Eisteddfod.

West Wales rail campaigners are pointing to the forthcoming National Eisteddfod in Ceredigion as further evidence for the need for urgent reinstatement of the South Wales to Aberystwyth rail line.

Next Sunday, the National Eisteddfod of Wales will open in the town of Tregaron in Ceredigion, two years later than originally envisaged due to the Covid pandemic.

Traws Link Cymru, the West Wales Rail Campaign group, say that the current transport infrastructure is not adequate to cope with an event which is set to attract large numbers of visitors to the area.

The chair of the group Professor Mike Walker also pointed out the irony of the proximity of the Maes to the disused railway route and claimed it is a “tragedy” that the rail infrastructure to transport visitors to the event was not in place.

He added that the reinstatement of the railway line would be a major stimulus to the economic development of the West Wales region, providing new forms of employment for and retention of young people in the area, and strengthening the Welsh language and culture.

Significant issues

Referring to the approaching event, Professor Walker said: “We would like to take this opportunity to convey our very best wishes to the Eisteddfod organising committee and everyone participating and competing in the nation’s premier cultural event.

“However, in terms of local transport infrastructure there are significant issues that need to be addressed, most notably about the adequacy of the local road transport infrastructure in central Ceredigion and its ability to cope with an event that will bring tens of thousands of visitors into the town of Tregaron and surrounding area.

“There is no trunk road access whatsoever to the town, and a shuttle bus service is having to be provided by a North Wales-based company who were responsible for a similar operation at the 2019 National Eisteddfod held in Llanrwst.

“We are encouraged by the Welsh Government’s newly published National Transport Delivery Plan, which includes a commitment to develop the case for a South Wales to Aberystwyth railway by 2025-2027.

“Indeed, the Tregaron National Eisteddfod highlights beyond any reasonable doubt the urgent need for a restoration of this strategic north-south rail corridor.”

Devolve more powers

Earlier this week The Welsh Government announced its National Transport Delivery Plan 2022 which includes a list of ongoing projects, with plans to develop the case for the railway to Aberystwyth by 2025 and outline the design by 2027, although the document concedes that the planning stage may well move “beyond” that point.

The plan says: “TfW are developing outline plans for improving sustainable transport along travel corridors on the west coast of Wales.

“As part of this work they will identify any potential routes that will need to be reserved for potential future development.”

The transport plan also states an ambition to move people from using cars to using public transport and active travel where possible, and to devolve more powers over transport to Wales, including over rail infrastructure.

Traws Link Cymru was formed in 2013 with aim of reinstating the railway lines between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen, and Afon Wen to Bangor, both of which were closed to passengers under the 1960s Beeching Cuts.

Last year the Welsh Government released a map that hinted that a north-south railway might be in the offing, but nothing has been confirmed so far.

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago

Perhaps if the Bay spent a little more energy on the here and now aspect of fixing our hospitals and schools together with not squandering good farmland, feeding ourselves and getting from A to B rather than pulling the wheels off cars and writing science fiction stories about nuclear and spaceships we might be better off…

1 year ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

No mileage in dealing with real life issues while there is so much scope for squandering the loot, blaming Wasteminster for failing to top up the begging bowl, and a spot of daily virtue signaling. Drakeford & Co are wasting that bit of goodwill they built for just handling Covid better than the Silly Boy over in London.

We do not get our fair allocation of funding but instead of bleating they need to put up a detailed statement of account about what is underpaid or withheld completely.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 year ago

Somebody close to the Senedd should perhaps pop round and kick a few ankles. For them to state that there are “plans to develop the case for the railway to Aberystwyth by 2025” suggests thay have been asleep for years. The case for restitution was made years ago and very loudly indeed when Hwyl Dda Health Bord was trying to close Bronglais Hospital here in Aberystwyth. Happily that has changed with a clear out of the top level of management but the need for decent connection to the south and the north remain. I would have thought a week’s work… Read more »

G Horton-Jones
G Horton-Jones
1 year ago

Reconnect Carmarthen station to the Gwilli railway at Glangwilli hospital and you will kickstart the restoration of a rail service to Aberystwyth.

1 year ago
Reply to  G Horton-Jones

Are you really that unconnected with how this route works

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