'Cash ready' for extra Ebbw Valley rail service

South Wales Argus: CASH FOR MORE SERVICES: The Ebbw Valley line CASH FOR MORE SERVICES: The Ebbw Valley line

A WELSH government minister has earmarked funding for improvements to the Ebbw Valley line that would allow for an extra hourly passenger rail service, the Argus understands.

The move has the potential to provide a link to Newport – but it is currently unclear when it would go ahead or whether that train would instead be bound for Cardiff.

Today the Argus continues its decade-long campaign calling for a service from Newport to Ebbw Vale – and calls for the extra service to be to this city.

Last year Transport Minister Edwina Hart agreed an allocation of £62 million in funding for 2013 to 2016 to be allocated for the so-called phase 1 of the South East Wales Metro plan to upgrade the public transport network.

But the Argus has learned that this includes improvements to rail infrastructure on the Ebbw Vale branch line that would allow for a second train per hour.

This would include a passing loop at Llanhilleth.

The fact that the line is largely single track has been a major obstacle to running additional trains – with only one service per hour currently running from Cardiff to Ebbw Vale.

But the Welsh Government has remained tight- lipped about the move.

Officials have simply referred to an earlier Assembly statement in October when Ms Hart said she would be “looking at” infrastructure improvements for a future second train per hour to and from Ebbw Vale.

Despite the Argus asking for a timescale, for how much the specific project would cost or for whether the train would go from Newport or Cardiff, officials have declined to give further information.

Where the extra train goes is potentially controversial.

Blaenau Gwent’s AM, Alun Davies, and MP Nick Smith have both called for an extra service to Cardiff.

But there are long-standing calls from this newspaper and many people across the city to bring an extra service to Newport.

Councillor Paul Hannon, a Labour councillor for Beechwood in the city, said: “I think it’s crazy to develop a metro service that bypasses Newport, especially when there are such ambitious plans for regeneration of the city centre.

“It makes absolutely no sense to have a service that will take people away from Newport.”

William Graham, the Newport-based Tory AM for South Wales East, said people have been asking for a Newport link for years, and said there had been “many excuses”.

However, Mr Graham assumed that the new service, if provided, would go to Cardiff.

“The original money was to help Newport when Llanwern steelworks closed,” he said.

“The whole of the western region has been resignalled and we are still no further forward.”

Comments (10)

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10:38am Mon 6 Jan 14

_Bryan_ says...

The obvious solution would be for the extra service to terminate in Cardiff BUT to have all trains on the Ebbw Vale line run via Newport.
The obvious solution would be for the extra service to terminate in Cardiff BUT to have all trains on the Ebbw Vale line run via Newport. _Bryan_

10:52am Mon 6 Jan 14

Vox Dei says...

Have trains fun via Newport yes, but why terminate in Cardiff? Why not Abergavenny, Cheltenham or Bristol Parkway?
Have trains fun via Newport yes, but why terminate in Cardiff? Why not Abergavenny, Cheltenham or Bristol Parkway? Vox Dei

12:00pm Mon 6 Jan 14

Frankfurt says...

Yes. Some trains already go through to Bridgend.
Yes. Some trains already go through to Bridgend. Frankfurt

12:30pm Mon 6 Jan 14

heresphil says...

With the proposed new Ebbw Vale racetrack and the potential economic benefits that it will bring, the WAG should recognise the need to provide a service along this line both west to Cardiff and beyond and east to Newport and Bristol. This should be a practical proposition with the electrification and resignalling of the main line.

Or do the WAG have an aversion to directing rail services anywhere towards England?
With the proposed new Ebbw Vale racetrack and the potential economic benefits that it will bring, the WAG should recognise the need to provide a service along this line both west to Cardiff and beyond and east to Newport and Bristol. This should be a practical proposition with the electrification and resignalling of the main line. Or do the WAG have an aversion to directing rail services anywhere towards England? heresphil

1:13pm Mon 6 Jan 14

blackandamber says...

heresphil wrote:
With the proposed new Ebbw Vale racetrack and the potential economic benefits that it will bring, the WAG should recognise the need to provide a service along this line both west to Cardiff and beyond and east to Newport and Bristol. This should be a practical proposition with the electrification and resignalling of the main line.

Or do the WAG have an aversion to directing rail services anywhere towards England?
The only interest the WAG have is the WAG.
[quote][p][bold]heresphil[/bold] wrote: With the proposed new Ebbw Vale racetrack and the potential economic benefits that it will bring, the WAG should recognise the need to provide a service along this line both west to Cardiff and beyond and east to Newport and Bristol. This should be a practical proposition with the electrification and resignalling of the main line. Or do the WAG have an aversion to directing rail services anywhere towards England?[/p][/quote]The only interest the WAG have is the WAG. blackandamber

1:49pm Mon 6 Jan 14

PontyPeter says...

Indeed there are a number of possibilities other than simply sending the extra train direct to Cardiff.
One direct to Cardiff and the other to Cardiff via Newport would be a good compromise.
Indeed there are a number of possibilities other than simply sending the extra train direct to Cardiff. One direct to Cardiff and the other to Cardiff via Newport would be a good compromise. PontyPeter

5:36pm Mon 6 Jan 14

hazellboy says...

no excuse then for the ebbw rugby fans to get down to the parade to watch the Newport dragons ?
no excuse then for the ebbw rugby fans to get down to the parade to watch the Newport dragons ? hazellboy

10:27pm Mon 6 Jan 14

kenny john says...

Its a good point about economic benefits of the extra Valley train re-directing to Newport and Bristol. Its surprising the amount of people who currently travel to Bristol from the valley towns such as Abertillery, Blackwood and Risca etc. Such a link would include the City of Gwent, Newport and also transfer to an extra hub of employment, providing the youth of Gwent another opportunity of work.
Its a good point about economic benefits of the extra Valley train re-directing to Newport and Bristol. Its surprising the amount of people who currently travel to Bristol from the valley towns such as Abertillery, Blackwood and Risca etc. Such a link would include the City of Gwent, Newport and also transfer to an extra hub of employment, providing the youth of Gwent another opportunity of work. kenny john

1:17pm Tue 7 Jan 14

chelsea fatboy says...

Run the train through to Chepstow, everyone is a winner then, Chepstow,Caldicot & Severn Tunnel Junction passengers get an extra train, Western Valley passengers get a train to Newport and if these new stations at Llanwern or Magor ever get built these trains can stop there also.

Hopefully if this plan ever gets to happen, then maybe earlier trains will be next to enable shift workers the chance to use the train or people without their own transport to apply for jobs that have start times which the current useless public transport around here DO NOT cater for
Run the train through to Chepstow, everyone is a winner then, Chepstow,Caldicot & Severn Tunnel Junction passengers get an extra train, Western Valley passengers get a train to Newport and if these new stations at Llanwern or Magor ever get built these trains can stop there also. Hopefully if this plan ever gets to happen, then maybe earlier trains will be next to enable shift workers the chance to use the train or people without their own transport to apply for jobs that have start times which the current useless public transport around here DO NOT cater for chelsea fatboy

1:20pm Tue 7 Jan 14

Thinking heads says...

Put an interchange station at gear park jcn that can help later.
when we open the line to cearphilly machen and rhiwderin and bassaleg.
that is in stage 2 of report
Put an interchange station at gear park jcn that can help later. when we open the line to cearphilly machen and rhiwderin and bassaleg. that is in stage 2 of report Thinking heads

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