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Development of north-south Wales railway to be explored as part of Plaid-Labour cooperation agreement

22 Nov 2021 3 minutes Read
A Heart of Wales Line train (pic by Stephen Miles)

The development of north-south rail links within Wales are to be explored by the Welsh Government as part of the Plaid Cymru and Labour cooperation agreement.

The agreement says that Transport for Wales, which was nationalised by the Welsh Government last year, will be asked to look into the feasibility of a railway on the west coast of Wales.

The agreement includes a commitment to “ask Transport for Wales (TfW) to explore the development of transport links between North and South Wales, including how to protect potential travel corridors on the west coast of Wales”.

“We will continue to press ahead with Metro developments to improve connectivity and encourage people to switch to public transport,” it said.

“We will ask TfW to work with local authorities in North West Wales and the Welsh Government to develop plans for an integrated transport system.”

The campaign group 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 month 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.

The agreement between Plaid Cymru and Labour is a joint policy programme covering 46 areas, ranging from the delivery of free school meals to all primary school pupils; a commitment to take immediate and radical action to address the second homes crisis, to long-term reform of the Senedd.

Plaid Cymru Members will not be joining the Welsh Government as Ministers or Deputy Ministers. Plaid Cymru will appoint a designated lead member for the agreement and committees made up of Welsh Ministers and Plaid Cymru designated members will be established to reach agreement on issues covered by the Co-operation Agreement.

‘Converted’

In September Civil engineer Bob Saxby from Traws Link Cymru told Golwg 360 he did not see any problem with the connection between Bangor and Afon Wen reopening.

“I can’t see any major problems with using the old trackbed through to Afonwen, much of which still exists,” he said.

“In the few places where new roads have trespassed on the line, new bridges would need to be built and possibly some sections of the road realigned, as has been done elsewhere,” he said.

“The tunnel under Castle Square in Caernarfon would need to be converted back from road to rail use but has very little traffic and would be even less needed as a road when the Caernarfon Bypass open.

“There is room for a railway to go between Morrison car park and the council car park under the car park behind Asda, to a station very close to the walled town and bus station.

“As well as encouraging visitors to come here by train, taking the pressure of the A55 as well as local roads and car parks, a railway would enable local people to get jobs along the north of Wales coast rather than having to move to away to find work. ”

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Jack
Jack
12 days ago

Carmarthen to Aberystwyth
Porthmadog to Bangor

Done!

Gareth
Gareth
12 days ago

If it has been possible to build rail lines through the Andes, Alps and Himalayas, the time for lame excuses of “it far to difficult to build railways in Wales ” must be ended. We need a modern infrastructure , and not just for the economy, but also for the environment.

hdavies15
hdavies15
12 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

Absolutely ! Although I do not buy into the line that such rail connections will solve a lot of problems they should most certainly feature as part of a comprehensive network of various transportation schemes. Rail down the west coast Bangor to Carmarthen, improved road via A487 from Caernarfon to Haverfordwest, Improved A470/A483 providing an X shaped link between Swansea and Cardiff via Builth to Llandudno and Wrexham.

Given the reopened rail links and upgrade of existing there is scope for improved rail travel between Wrexham and Carmarthen/West Wales via Aberystwyth.

Tabor
Tabor
12 days ago

Or diwadd mae yn hen bryd gormod o son am HS 2

Richard
Richard
12 days ago

On the right tracks here 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

Bob McIntyre
Bob McIntyre
12 days ago

Why not sort out the railways we have first? Take the Heart of Wales line: constant cancellations – currently running at one in six trains, and running late – again one in six trains at Llandovery. That makes one third of all trains either cancelled or late. Now that might not be an issue in the metropolitan world of Cardiff but when you have only four trains each way each day and two on Sunday, one third represents a large fraction. Many of the cancellations leave passengers stuck at Llandrindod, or even worse, Llanwrtyd with no facilities to wait for… Read more »

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
12 days ago
Reply to  Bob McIntyre

No, we can deal with multiple problems at the same time. It isn’t one or the other.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
12 days ago

I love going down to Cardiff, but its an absolute pain in the A to get to because of the pointless trip over the border which ends up costing me more and taking way more time than it should (Also it must be really bad for the environment). Connect the country, watch the economy link up and grow. There are so many Welsh businesses that would benefit from this and we may even see Wrexham Lager down in our capital and Brains up here.

hdavies15
hdavies15
12 days ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

You won’t see Brains for long the way Marston’s are butchering the business. Bad deal all round.

Paul Reynolds
10 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Remember this Etonians?

Memento Etonia.

Stephen
Stephen
12 days ago

Staggering this hasn’t happened yet, the transport system across Wales is an embarrassment.

Robert Maidment-Wilson
Robert Maidment-Wilson
11 days ago

While they are about it, Brecon needs it’s railway back, as do Builth Wells, Llanidloes and Hay.

Last edited 11 days ago by Robert Maidment-Wilson
Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
11 days ago

The reason that the transport infrastructure between north Wales and south Wales is so bad. what comes to mind is devide and rule

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
11 days ago
Reply to  Malcolm rj

That’s about right. The Welsh rail network was never intended to benfit Cymru, save for a few branch lines that were subsequently closed by Beeching.

Dave
Dave
11 days ago

it’s a good job there isn’t a steam railway on the trackbed between Caernarfon & Dinas then eh?

Last edited 11 days ago by Dave
Tony
Tony
10 days ago
Reply to  Dave

Have any of these politicians actually visited Caernarfon. I don’t believe they have or they wouldn’t come out with such nonsense.

David Smith
David Smith
9 days ago
Reply to  Dave

Compulsory purchase order. Then the overgrown boys can play toy trains elsewhere. The same goes for the whinging lycra lobby too who’ll inevitably carp about the ‘loss’ of Lôn Eifion.

Tony
Tony
9 days ago
Reply to  David Smith

No pal, it’s you doing the whinging. If you think it’s playing trains suggest you give it a try sometime. Preferably in winter with the rain lashing down.

Peter
Peter
11 days ago

Bob Saxby seems to forget that the Welsh Highland Railway occupies the trackbed of the former standard gauge line from Caernarfon to Dinas, and that the Welsh Highland Railway’s new Caernarfon Station is opposite the bottom of the tunnel under Castle Square. Whilst it would be relatively straightforward to buid a new standard gauge line alongside the Welsh Highland Railway in open countryside, the section alongside St. Helen’s Road is built up, and several of the buildings are heritage assets, which it is planned to restore.

Tony
Tony
9 days ago
Reply to  Peter

Bob Saxby, who ever he is, has obviously never visited Caernarfon. Probably mixing up with Carmarthen.

Robert Griffin
Robert Griffin
11 days ago

First thing to do is an amendment to the Land Transfer Tax to stop the land speculators driving up the cost of land for a new railway line. HS2 was a wet dream for these parasites, don’t let it happen in Wales. Do as the French, tax every penny of profit on land speculation, so it doesn’t happen. Result, railways cost less than a tenth of the cost per kilometre in the UK, and roads schools and hospitals are also at real costs.

Geoffrey Isaac
Geoffrey Isaac
10 days ago

I have read Welsh Government saying that the terrain from South Wales to North Wales is too difficult to build a railway. Well when England have finished with those boring tunnel machines for HS2 get them and put them to use. ?

John Mcgee
John Mcgee
10 days ago

I travelled on the route many times as school boy, my parents would buy a runabout ticket while on holiday in Penmaenmawr. The route is a fantastic scenic delight. Have travelled from Sydney up through the Blue Mountains, it fades into insignificance on comparison. I hope ots reinstated for the indigenous folk, but has a tourist attraction, its a golden opportunity for the Welsh Tourism.

sam
sam
9 days ago

so called civil engineer Bob Saxby talks about the line as if he knows it well but seems to forget that many miles are occupied by a busy very popular steam railway that has put a lot of invenbstment into being there, he doesnt mention it like it doesnt matter or they can just kick them out to make room

David Smith
David Smith
9 days ago
Reply to  sam

CPO. Three little letters. Sorted it for you.

David Smith
David Smith
9 days ago

Didn’t they already do a feasibility study and it came back as viable?

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