Work starts to re-open ‘gateway to Pembrokeshire’ railway station
Work begins today at a railway station which has been closed for 50 years to re-open ‘the gateway to Pembrokeshire’
In a scheme worth £4.7m paid for by the UK Government, St Clears station is being upgraded in order to become a recognised stop once again on the Carmarthen to Haverfordwest line.
The groundwork and surveying will begin today and continue until the end of March, and to minimise disruption to rail passengers, work will go on during the night as well as the day.
The improvement to the station is the culmination of long campaign from the locals and the town council who held public meetings and launched the ‘Next Stop St Clears campaign’.
The station at St Clears opened originally in 1854 and served the community for the next 110 years. It was closed in 1964 following the notorious Beeching report which recommended nationwide railway infrastructure cuts which were introduced by Harold Macmillan’s Conservative Government in 1963.
Local community efforts to have it re-opened have been ongoing since the 1970s, with momentum gathering in 2010 when a poll and a social media campaign, driven by the local press and people from the area, attracted significant support.
In March 2020 a petition was launched calling on the National Assembly to urge the Welsh Government to recommend St Clears to Network Rail for a new railway station.
It said: “St Clears and the surrounding communities will benefit greatly from re-opening the railway station, closing the gap in the West Wales line and enabling more people to use the train.
“We believe a station in St Clears would bring many benefits, including social inclusion, reducing carbon footprint and increased tourism in the area.”
The campaign then ramped up last year when the location was chosen by the Department of Transport as one of four station re-opening bids out of 12 to go through to the final level.
The campaigning has attracted backing from previous AMs Angela Burns and William Powell, and then from Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart MP and Samuel Kurtz, MS for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire.
Simon Hart said: “This has been a long haul for St Clears and so it is really exciting to see work finally starting.
“This is happening thanks to a UK Government grant of nearly £5 million and it will be of huge benefit to the whole area.”
Samuel Kurtz added: “This is well-overdue and shows what can be achieved when all levels of government work together.
“Whilst the timescales are ambitious, it’s fabulous to see things are finally underway.
“Let’s now hope Welsh Government support St Clears Station with quality trains and a suitable timetable.”
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