Labour scrap valleys rail investment while backing ‘Cardiff ministerial metro’

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

The Welsh Government has been criticised today for abandoning plans to electrify the railway between Ebbw Vale and Cardiff.

But plans to build a light-rail service between Cathays Park and Cardiff Bay, branded as “nothing more than a metro line for ministers”, were ongoing.

Assembly Member Adam Price pointed to Transport for Wales’s Strategic Environment Assessments which note that the Ebbw Vale electrification project has been “discontinued from future consideration”.

Similarly ruled out was connecting Trelewis to near Quakers Yard, joining up the Merthyr and Rhymney line to create the so-called Circe Line of the Valleys.

There was also uncertainty over the electrification of the Bridgend to Maesteg line.

“The Tory UK Government were rightly accused of selling out on people who lived to the west of Cardiff,” said Adam Price, Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Economy.

“The Labour Welsh Government is now doing exactly the same to people who live in the Valleys to the north of the capital.”

The Welsh Government responded by saying it was as of yet too early to say what would be in the final contract.

‘Abandoned’

The UK Government had provided the Labour Government £125 million which was originally earmarked for the electrification of the entire Valleys lines network.

Adam Price said that the Wesh Government had “abandoned” those plans “despite having the necessary funds to deliver on their promise”.

“This latest revelation is yet another blunder in what has been a calamitous procurement process for the next Wales and Borders Franchise, including the South Wales Metro,” he said.

“The people of Ebbw Vale, Maesteg and Bridgend will rightly question the Labour Welsh Government’s sense of priorities upon learning of their intention to build a light-rail service between Cathays Park and Cardiff Bay – proposals which seem to be nothing more than a metro line for ministers.”

‘Higher quality’

The Welsh Government responded by saying that they had not “cancelled” their plans.

“We will soon be announcing the service provider for a revolutionary rail service which will see passengers benefit from increased, higher quality rolling stock, more frequent trains and reduced carbon emissions,” Economy and Transport Secretary Ken Skates said.

“The Metro represents a significant part of this and we’ve always been very clear that this will be delivered in phases.”

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Keith Parry
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Keith Parry

The Metro Project always was pie in the sky. How much public money has been wasted on consultants and other hangers on? Time WG invested in buses that people actually use, twice as many as trains.

Colin Mann
Guest
Colin Mann

This is how Labour mis-treats the communities who have given them loyalty for generations – conned by Labour!

Rod hughes
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Rod hughes

Sold a pup !
It was always for cardiff connectivity the rest of wales can whisle ? Creat a castle to rule from before you give the slaves the freedom .
Control there access to work and you control there expections . Time to change ?
WALES IS ONE NATION , HISTORY AND LAUNIGE ARE IMPORTANT BUT OUR NATION MUST COME FIRST ! REPERSENT ALL OF US.

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

The Cardiff centric, big minded rascal, that gobbles the not only the meat, but the corn seed of the valley renewal strategy. It’s the soften up for the M4 extension at Newport. I could write the script, If I was a comedian.

Rob Hughes
Guest
Rob Hughes

Can’t share. I need this to be about the Labour Party rather the Welsh Government. Lot of anti-Assembly feeling at the moment, people don’t understand that the term ‘Welsh Government’ refers to the Labour Party, sharing will only stoke those feelings.

JR Humphreys
Guest
JR Humphreys

What do Labour Party members think? And Young labour seem to be in a different party, or do I missread?

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

What do Labour Party members think?. Well the sober, silver surfers voted Wales out of Europe, and much to the dislike of the younger generations. I wouldn’t be best pleased if I was thus so. The gradual erosion of prosperity and investment in education is the biggest scandal of all. An aging population in the s Wales valleys and its insistence on voting in bundles still for a repeat prescription or dose of the same, there’s no reason why the old guard needs to change. As already posted : Doing the same failed thing over and over, is regarded as… Read more »

T n
Guest
T n

Adam Price’s comments are indicative of the chaos that underlies the policy-free area which is the Transport Department of the Welsh Government. With no coherent strategy, and only cobbled-together projects that lack a rationale, the waste of taxpayer funds over the last decade is a scandal and deserves scrutiny by the Welsh Audit Office. From the risible and damaging New M4 proposal to the unnecessarily complex rail franchise to the over-ambitious Metro to the provision of new housing without planning for adequate transport to serve it to the farce of Cardiff’s bus station, transport is in a complete muddle. None… Read more »

Warren Davies
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Warren Davies

Great reply.

I’d love to see an expanded version, especially expanding on your final paragraph, forming an article for this website.

T N D Anderson
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T N D Anderson

Oops. Last comment should have shown my name in full.

John Young
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John Young

Could any current Labour voters out there comment on this latest utterly Cardiff centric decision, yet again stealing investment from other parts of Wales purely to benefit Cardiff ?

Tudor Rees
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Tudor Rees

Mae angen i’r pleidiau cydweithio, i sicrhau cyfran deg o’r arian mae Llywodraeth San Steffan yn pennu ar gyfer rheilffyrdd “Englandandwales” er mwyn datblygu trafnidiaeth i’r gorllewin i Gaerdydd ac i’r Gogledd o Bontypridd.

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

The latter comments of contributors and particularly TN D Anderson, of greater insight than I, speaks of an unwakeable nightmare. The brewing of a perfect storm. The plea from Tudor to vote together, to develop better transport policy. Why are we not. Will the labour voters, says John, not rise up, and cry unfair. Why aren’t you. Stir from your slumber, rise with might, down trodden and oppressed may be, but where is your backbone. Can you not see, the decisions are a knife in the gaping wounds of an stoppable loss of life blood elswhere in Wales. A transport… Read more »

Nigel Bull
Guest

The valleys rolling stock is very old, polluting and unreliable. New(er?) stock can and will be leased which will improve matters as indeed would electrification. There is a big but, however, we really need major investment along the new Heads of the valleys road to bring in the Industry and services that will make train services that only serve a small part of Cardiff well, less essential. Go North of the M4 and you find an economic wasteland, you only have to look at the Treforest Industrial Estate for a microcosm of all that is wrong with Industrial Policy in… Read more »

sianiflewog
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sianiflewog

Vote welsh Labor – get a load of Marxist Leninist nutters whose only interest in the perpetuation of their situation. If you vote ML serves you right.

We need a new party left of centre with an interest in our Cymru and a) our culture b) our environment and c) with an overt emfasis on social justice (you can choose the order).

From what i read on the comments above, it looks like the time is ripe – hen bryd i gicio PLC allan!

John Young
Guest
John Young

What we actually need is a party whose sole aim is to promote policies that are purely for the benefit of Wales.

And the only way to ensure that those policies are enacted is if Wales is Independent.

It won’t be long.

Rod Mackay
Guest
Rod Mackay

Sounds like an outbreak of common sense. A packed tram with few seats and no loo would be an awful way to travel from Merthyr or Treherbert. And a change of mode for everyone on through journeys such as Cadoxton to Treforest or Penarth to Cathays or Ponty to Barry Island would have been chaotic. Let trams do what they do best, bring a quality, fast service to places that can’t be reached by heavy rail like Pentwyn, and build on the existing rail system with bigger, newer trains.

Tame Frontiersman
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Tame Frontiersman

“Ministerial Metro Line”: now there’s a phrase that reminds one of the “Welsh Office Express”, “Option A” in the 1982 Serpell Report- the proposed apocalyptic reduction of passenger services in Wales to the London and Cardiff line. I don’t understand the politics of announcing rail schemes and then cancelling them. I’ve read the sales pitch for rail electrification, but I don’t really get the cross-party support for electrification in Wales, though I do see how the contractor involved in installation and maintenance will make a tidy profit. I don’t understand why Wales is told it wants something so 20th century.… Read more »

Nigel Bull
Guest

If any area is ripe for battery driven trains it is the valley lines with multiple stops for energy regeneration and with much time spent stationary for charging. The train for that option has for once left the station ahead of time! For me the better option would have been the leasing of a newer(not new) generation of train until the technology that is bounding ahead is ready. If Elon Musk’s operation does not the go belly up, he will get the technology that has little infrastructure cost, reduced energy consumption, increased speed, increased reliability, toilets that do not flush… Read more »

Garregddu
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Garregddu

The Metro scheme is suffering a slow death by a thousand cuts. In the end we will be stuck with outdated trains delivering the same service- they will just be painted a different colour. Idiots like Alun Cairns and Chris Grayling tell us that electrification is old hat and that electric/diesel hybrids are supposedly cutting edge. Hmm. In that case why are Crossrail and HS2 being built electrified? Let’s not forget that it is Welsh taxpayers partially funding this transport investment infrastructure in SE England. Meanwhile GWR are boasting about new trains on the local network in Bristol- these “new”… Read more »

ERNEST
Guest
ERNEST

We are never to get the transport infrastructure that the Welsh people deserve until the Welsh government is prepared to confront the decisions made by the UK government in London.
That means the Labour government in Cardiff have got to put Wales first; England is another country, they should both be independent of each other, Wales should run its railway as Wales pleases. We, in Wales, should also control our own taxes and revenues to fund this infrastructure.