Plan to outline rail link between the south of Wales and Aberystwyth by 2027
Plans for a rail link between the south of Wales and Aberystwyth could be outlined by 2027 according to a new Welsh Government transport planning document.
The Welsh Government’s National Transport Delivery Plan 2022 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 Plaid Cymru and Welsh Government cooperation agreement include a commitment to “ask Transport for Wales and other partners to explore how transport links between the north and south of Wales can be developed”.
These would include “how to protect potential travel corridors along the western coast of Wales from Swansea to Bangor”.
The transport document published this week includes amid its ongoing projects a “Swansea Aberystwyth Rail Link” with a commitment to “develop the case for change and option selection” between 2022 and 2025 and “outline design and powers” between “2025 to 2027 and beyond”.
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.
“Responsibility for transport in Wales is shared between the UK and Welsh Government with a mixture of responsibilities,” the plan says.
“In the long term, we would like to see more responsibilities devolved to Wales, with fair and equitable funding, to enable us to achieve some of our bigger ambitions for Wales.
“Specifically, in the short-term we would like to see Air Passenger Duty devolved and in the long term, we would like to see rail infrastructure fully devolved to Wales.”
The transport plan also hints towards using some forms of road charging to deter people from using cars in the future.
We will also motivate people away from private car use through demand management – the Wales Transport Strategy includes a commitment to develop a national road user charging framework,” it says.
“Further work will be undertaken to: develop a fair and equitable road user charging framework, including how local authorities can borrow against these future
revenue streams to fund transport improvements; and also consider other alternatives such as work place car parking levies and road space reallocation.”
However, it also notes that “the UK Secretary of State for Transport retains powers to implement universal road charging and to receive any revenue, but through the Transport Act 2000 Welsh Ministers can provide powers to local authorities to implement local schemes.”
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 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.
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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