Petition to re-open railway lines to connect the north and south of Wales tops 10k signatures
Carmarthen railway station. Photo by David Jones is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
A petition calling for the reopening of Welsh railway lines has reached over 10,000 signatures, meaning it must now be considered for debate in the Senedd.
The petition calls for the lines linking Bangor to Afon Wen and Aberystwyth to Carmarthen to be re-instated, integrating them with the Cambrian railway, and the line from Carmarthen on to Cardiff.
The petition was set up after members of Ceredigion County Council’s Thriving Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee heard the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen line was unlikely to reopen for 30 or 40 years.
The greatest number of signatures are from Ceredigion with nearly 1500. There are just over 1000 from neighbouring Dwyfor Meirionnydd, over 500 from Carmarthen East/Dinefwr and a similar amount from Preseli Pembrokeshire and Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire combined.
The line was a victim of the 1960s Beeching cuts, originally closing in February 1965, and the re-opening of the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen section has long been a call shared by many, including members of Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Liberal Democrats locally.
Currently the options for travelling from Pembrokeshire to Aberystwyth involves a journey of more than 300 miles through south Wales, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Powys, or a trip of 70 miles or less by road.
Costs for its reopening are speculated to range from £800 million and £1bn.
Back in 2020, West Wales Rail Campaign group Traws Link Cymru published a report with new research into the reopening of the Aberystwyth to Carmarthen railway.
The report confirmed the findings of an initial scoping study of 2015, which found that 97 percent of the original track bed was clear and that reopening was a realistic prospect.
However, Professor Stuart Cole CBE, Emeritus Professor of Transport at the University of South Wales, asked if there was any definitive answer from Welsh Government on whether the scheme would go ahead any time soon, estimating there was “no chance at all” of it reopening in “the next 40 years”.
When discussing alternative potential uses for the track bed, committee Members were told that despite “an aspiration to improve the railway links between Carmarthenshire and Aberystwyth,” the proposals were likely to take many years, effectively allowing any alternative use to enjoy a long usage.
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If the whole project would cost £1bn, you could start by building, say, Caerfyrddin to Llanbedr P S, a Bangor to Caernarfon. That would cost around £200m, the sort of price spent on Caernarfon bypass. So it is in no way unaffordable. What is wanting is political will by weak willed Labour cabinet ministers. If all AMs were given the option it would certainly pass. Let us just get started!!
I like this guy’s moxie!
…a billion is a drop in the ocean compared to what has been wasted in total on HS2 and other Tory vanities……
HS2 isn’t a vanity project; it’s a project which has been managed badly – making cuts to northern sections and where most benefit was going to be gained, gone way over budget and is English only project.
We’ve been docked 5-6bn in rail funding, all parties are calling for it be given, if we get that think of what we could do, we could link north and south (1bn), Cardiff crossrail (1bn) and then 3bn to spend on whatever tf else it’d be amazing
Being able to travel cheaply, easily and frequently throughout Wales without needing to go into England (be that by train or bus/coach) is part of the nation building spirit we should be pushing for.