Lack of investment in Wales’ rail lines by UK Government ‘major concern’ says report
Wales’ “neglected” rail lines would receive much higher levels of investment if money for rail infrastructure was doled out according to population, a report by a rail think tank has said.
Such an approaching would herald “a serious rebalancing of rail expenditure away from London and the South East,” according to Greengauge 21.
The report adds that with the switch from an emphasis on roads to public transport in Wales, “strategic rail investment is a
major outstanding concern”.
“With the prospect of rail investment in part being used to replace the planned Newport M4 bypass, there is good reason to consider a higher rail enhancement budget than shown here, based on a switch of spending from strategic roads to rail,” the report says.
It said that in the past transport budgets had been invested in places where congestion is highest, “which in the past in practice has meant, for the rail sector, investment in and around London”.
In terms of electrification of rail lines “Wales have been very substantially neglected in this policy application, as have cross country railways in general.”
“In Wales, electrification is minimal, yet route distances over main lines (Cardiff-West Wales, the North Wales Coast and Newport-Crewe) are lengthy and cry out for at least partial electrification,” it added.
Meanwhile in London “there remain a few very short electrification gaps to be addressed”.
The report said that south-west England and Wales deserve a £25% budget uplift “to overcome the weaknesses of unimproved networks and reliance on diesel-powered trains”.
It adds: “The [UK] Government’s levelling up agenda must have a Wales and West component, as well as Midlands and North.”