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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