Newport traders support Valley rail-link lobby

Newport traders support Valley rail-link lobby

Aerial photograph of Newport city centre. (1106563)

Argus-Mark Reporter- 10-08-12 Generic Newport city centre Commercial Street (1134576)

First published in News

CITY traders have shown their support for renewed efforts to link the Gwent Valleys to Newport with a railway line from Ebbw Vale.

Newport business owners say the link would be ‘a positive thing for the city’ - citing that if plans were to go ahead to link Ebbw Vale to Newport, it would give the city an economic boost.

This comes as a team of consultants has been commissioned by Newport council to build a new business case for the Ebbw Valley railway line to reach Newport.

But despite calls going back more than ten years such a link hasn’t yet to come to fruition with the service, which opened in 2008, running only to Cardiff.

In January the Argus reported that Welsh Government minister Edwina Hart had earmarked funding for improvements to the Ebbw Valley line that would allow for an extra hourly passenger rail service as part of the South East Wales Metro plan.

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

Jon Powell of the Kiosk in Newport city centre said the railway link would be hugely beneficial to the city.

“When I was first working in the town you used to see a lot of Valleys people,” he said.

“It would definitely help trade as it would be bringing Valleys people down here again.

“I would really like to see the original link back again as it would definitely help business.”

Janne Kristensson, owner of Swedish takeaway ‘Taste of Sweden’ in the city centre agreed.

“They are going to rebuild Newport city centre and when it is done it is going to be great, but the problem is how they are going to bring the people back in to the city.

“Newport council don’t seem to be doing very much for small businesses.

“If more people from the Valleys came to Newport it would help businesses come to life again.”

Dave Went, owner of Newport pub Ivy Bush said that he remembers how beneficial the original railway link was to city businesses.

“I have run pubs in the city centre for years and years and I remember when there was a Valleys line that came through,” he said.

“Newport lost a lot of trade when that stopped.

“The trade that we have lost in the city has been horrendous-about 40 to 50 percent.

“They need to set the Valleys link up as it would be fantastic to see it again.

“People used to come to Newport to do their shopping and have a meal before getting the train back up home.

“On a night time the there was so much trade off it.”

Jon Dawkins of city web design business Dirty Little Serifs is passionate that the city restores its Valleys links.

“I am all for it,” he said.

“Having been born in Abertillery, I think the link from the Valleys area to Newport would be especially good for both places to grow.

“It would be good for a lot of youngsters to be connected to Newport as well as a lot of businesses in the Valleys.

"We don’t have a car at the moment so we have to get a bus to the valleys where 20 percent of our business is, which can take us and hour and 20 minutes.

"I could meet a client in London in and hour and 50 minutes, so it is crazy to think it takes that long to get to the Valleys.

“The link would definitely hep businesses and economic growth.”

Meanwhile Labour MP for Newport West Paul Flynn was also keen for the line.

“There is a long established link between Newport and the Gwent Valleys,” he said.

“It would benefit to both areas to see these links strengthened.

“There are a lot of people in the Valleys that see Newport as their centre for shopping so the link would be considered as a positive step.

“The link would help the Valleys be prosperous and a prosperous Valleys equals a prosperous Newport.”

Comments (6)

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8:07am Mon 2 Jun 14

john.hall1000 says...

They need to put in more passing loops, not just the one between Pontymister and crosskeys, there are a few places they can do it, and just before you get into Newbridge there is still a bot of double track left. So it can be done.
They need to put in more passing loops, not just the one between Pontymister and crosskeys, there are a few places they can do it, and just before you get into Newbridge there is still a bot of double track left. So it can be done. john.hall1000
  • Score: 3

9:18am Mon 2 Jun 14

stevey says...

All that's said about the valley's people by you townies but you still want our money, disgrace.
All that's said about the valley's people by you townies but you still want our money, disgrace. stevey
  • Score: -9

9:27am Mon 2 Jun 14

inkyskin says...

got enough valley muppets coming in via buses thanks!
got enough valley muppets coming in via buses thanks! inkyskin
  • Score: -8

9:40am Mon 2 Jun 14

JE Charles says...

The easiest solution would be to incorporate a bay platform into the new Pye Corner Station and run a shuttle service to and from Newport with a two car DMU; a dedicated bay could be formed at the western end of Platforms 2&3 of Newport.
The easiest solution would be to incorporate a bay platform into the new Pye Corner Station and run a shuttle service to and from Newport with a two car DMU; a dedicated bay could be formed at the western end of Platforms 2&3 of Newport. JE Charles
  • Score: -2

12:23pm Mon 2 Jun 14

MERoden says...

I disagree with JE Charles.

The best and easiest solution is to open the Newport connection part of the line and add Newport as a stop to the existing Ebbw Vale to Cardiff route.

After all, the Newport part of the line has actually been in use for the past few weeks because the Cardiff part of the line has been closed due to rail engineering works. This goes to show that the Newport connection IS suitable. They will have to do some work to it and add train signals, but the bulk of it is ALREADY THERE! All of this is on the Gaer Junction on Cardiff Road, Newport. Just one small section of line is all Network Rail will have to work on to open the Newport Connection. There is simply no excuse not to do this. Newport is on the up. Admiral Insurance have just moved into their new office in Newport City Centre today and they all love it. They are all saying how much better it is to be in the city centre and are praising it being opposite Newport Train Station. Therefore, this is a really good time to invest in new rail infrastructure in Newport. This rail connection into Newport is badly needed. It is essential.
I disagree with JE Charles. The best and easiest solution is to open the Newport connection part of the line and add Newport as a stop to the existing Ebbw Vale to Cardiff route. After all, the Newport part of the line has actually been in use for the past few weeks because the Cardiff part of the line has been closed due to rail engineering works. This goes to show that the Newport connection IS suitable. They will have to do some work to it and add train signals, but the bulk of it is ALREADY THERE! All of this is on the Gaer Junction on Cardiff Road, Newport. Just one small section of line is all Network Rail will have to work on to open the Newport Connection. There is simply no excuse not to do this. Newport is on the up. Admiral Insurance have just moved into their new office in Newport City Centre today and they all love it. They are all saying how much better it is to be in the city centre and are praising it being opposite Newport Train Station. Therefore, this is a really good time to invest in new rail infrastructure in Newport. This rail connection into Newport is badly needed. It is essential. MERoden
  • Score: 9

3:59pm Mon 2 Jun 14

PontyPeter says...

The only thing stopping trains from Ebbw Vale to Newport is politics.
At the moment there is only capacity on the line for one train per hour. This is because of the lack of double track at the top end of the line.
So at the moment the option is Newport of Cardiff. The option was chosen for Cardiff rather than Newport when the line was planned and built. This was because the then 1st Minister, Rhodri Morgan, wanted the trains to go to Cardiff. As a result, to save money the double track wasn't built and the chord from Park Jnct to Newport was left as it was, just a goods line.
It's now possibel, since resignalling and other work, to run trains to Newport. This has happened twice recently when engineering work prevented the service running to Cardiff.
If more money is spent on more double track, the option is either a half hourly service to Cardiff, or an hourly service alternating between Newport and Cardiff.
The most sensible idea, alternating the service between the two, should have the Newport train travel on to either Bristol, Gloucester/Cheltenha
m, or Hereford. This then avoids the the train having to turn back from platform 3 or 4.
The solution is really is one of a) funding b) timetabelling
The only thing stopping trains from Ebbw Vale to Newport is politics. At the moment there is only capacity on the line for one train per hour. This is because of the lack of double track at the top end of the line. So at the moment the option is Newport of Cardiff. The option was chosen for Cardiff rather than Newport when the line was planned and built. This was because the then 1st Minister, Rhodri Morgan, wanted the trains to go to Cardiff. As a result, to save money the double track wasn't built and the chord from Park Jnct to Newport was left as it was, just a goods line. It's now possibel, since resignalling and other work, to run trains to Newport. This has happened twice recently when engineering work prevented the service running to Cardiff. If more money is spent on more double track, the option is either a half hourly service to Cardiff, or an hourly service alternating between Newport and Cardiff. The most sensible idea, alternating the service between the two, should have the Newport train travel on to either Bristol, Gloucester/Cheltenha m, or Hereford. This then avoids the the train having to turn back from platform 3 or 4. The solution is really is one of a) funding b) timetabelling PontyPeter
  • Score: 5

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