RESIDENTS in Abertillery have started a petition to try and bring a long-awaited train station to the town “essential” for the community’s future.

There have been numerous calls for vital transport links to be introduced.

But, after it was reported in last week’s Argus a Welsh government minister had earmarked funding for improvements to the Ebbw Valley line, residents in the town have been left frustrated.

The petition was started by Antony Partridge, 29, from Abertillery, on Tuesday and already it has more than 425 signatures.

“We’ve been waiting a very long time for a train station and believed that was in the process of coming,” he said. “But the announcement that the Ebbw Vale line will be improved is frustrating.

“There’s no need for extra trains there when people here are struggling to get out of Abertillery, and the nearest station at Llanhilleth is over three miles away.

“This is vital for our town as businesses are struggling and there is high unemployment because people can’t get to other parts of South Wales unless they can drive.”

Andrew Rogers, 46, is owner of The Dolls House, a live music venue in Abertillery, and thinks that the town is being forgotten about.

“This train station link is vital,” he said. “It had been on the cards for a while but now it’s been put on the back burner again. “We’re a forgotten town compared to Ebbw Vale at the moment. We don’t just want this link to allow people to get jobs elsewhere, but also to bring business in to our town as Abertillery has a lot to offer.”

A Blaenau Gwent council spokeswoman said: “The scheme for a spur and station at Abertillery is a long term proposal that is featured in the Sewta Rail Strategy. The delivery of major rail schemes is led by the Welsh government, however Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council is currently looking to identify and protect the land required for the future scheme proposal.” The Argus reported how it was understood that the earmarked funding for improvements to the Ebbw Valley line would allow for an extra hourly passenger rail service. 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.