Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Ebbw Vale to Newport - now and then...
The rail link between Ebbw Vale and Newport to all intents and purposes is open – trains run relatively admittedly somewhat irregularly from Ebbw Vale into Newport and vice versa. The rail line and the signalling works fine – what’s lacking is a regularly timetabled service rather than the restoration of infrastructure and signalling.

The Ebbw Vale line, at least to Cardiff, reopened in 2008 and carried a years worth of anticipated passengers in the first few months. The new rail service failed to connect to Newport and the rest of the south east from the start – by now even the Welsh Labour government has run out of excuses.

The failure to connect the Ebbw Vale line to Newport means that potential commuters living in communities in the Ebbw Valley remain unable to travel directly to Newport by train and have little choice but to use their cars. They are denied the opportunity of catching connecting trains to Bristol, Cheltenham and beyond as well travelling slightly more rapidly to Cardiff in the morning and evening.

Driver training on the Gaer spur (Ian Brewer)
By now it is irrelevant as to whether this was a short-sighted ill thought out decision or a deliberate decision. The end result is the same in that commuters have no choice but to drive to work and help to feed the congestion of the overcrowded M4.

The Welsh Government despite the on-going problems with the establishing proposed new rail franchise needs to work to fix the missing rail link. We need an all-party commitment to ensure a honoured commitment to introducing a regular timetabled service to and from Ebbw Vale to Newport as part of the new all Wales rail franchise.

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