Ebbw Valley line upgrade done by 2016 - Carwyn Jones

Ebbw Valley line upgrade done by 2016 - Carwyn Jones

Ebbw Valley line upgrade done by 2016 - Carwyn Jones

First published in News
Last updated

WORK to upgrade the Ebbw Valley railway line that could see an additional service to Newport or Cardiff will be done by 2016, the first minister told the Assembly.

Carwyn Jones said the Welsh Government is funding track works that will provide the capability to operate additional services that could operate to either Newport or Cardiff.

The Argus has campaigned for more than a decade for a passenger train service from Newport to Ebbw Vale.

Mohammad Asghar, Tory AM for South East Wales, asked in first minister’s questions in the Senedd whether plans for further improvements to the Ebbw Valley railway line include linking Newport with a passenger train link.

Mr Jones said the Pye Corner station in the west of Newport, that is due to open in December of this year, “will improve access to Newport.”

He added: “We are also funding track works which will provide the capability to operate additional services that could operate to either Newport or Cardiff, and those works will be completed in 2016.”

Where that train will go is likely to be controversial – with Blaenau Gwent's Alun Davies AM and Nick Smith MP calling for an extra service to the capital while voices in Newport, including this newspaper, want their city to be linked up.

Newport council has its itself recently commissioned consultants to work up a new business case for a Ebbw Vale to Newport railway service.

Mr Jones’ comments confirm an Argus report in January that it understood that Welsh Government business minister Edwina Hart had earmarked funding for improvements to the Ebbw Valley line that would allow for an extra hourly passenger rail service.

This would include a passing loop at Llanhilleth.

The Welsh Government were tight-lipped on the move at the time, not revealing when the work would be completed by or how much it would cost.

Last year Transport Minister Edwina Hart had agreed an allocation of £62 million in funding for 2013 to 2016 to be allocated for phase 1 of the South East Wales Metro plan to upgrade the public transport network and it was understood that the Ebbw Valley line improvements would be part of this project.

Comments (15)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

1:46pm Thu 12 Jun 14

JE Charles says...

The easiest solution is to create a bay platform in the new Pye Corner Station and run a shuttle service from there to Newport Station.
The easiest solution is to create a bay platform in the new Pye Corner Station and run a shuttle service from there to Newport Station. JE Charles
  • Score: -7

2:10pm Thu 12 Jun 14

exrisca says...

JE Charles wrote:
The easiest solution is to create a bay platform in the new Pye Corner Station and run a shuttle service from there to Newport Station.
But anyone then wanting to go from Newport by rail would have to change again a few minutes later.
Why could the second train not go to Cardiff via Newport?
[quote][p][bold]JE Charles[/bold] wrote: The easiest solution is to create a bay platform in the new Pye Corner Station and run a shuttle service from there to Newport Station.[/p][/quote]But anyone then wanting to go from Newport by rail would have to change again a few minutes later. Why could the second train not go to Cardiff via Newport? exrisca
  • Score: 8

2:17pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Bobevans says...

exrisca wrote:
JE Charles wrote:
The easiest solution is to create a bay platform in the new Pye Corner Station and run a shuttle service from there to Newport Station.
But anyone then wanting to go from Newport by rail would have to change again a few minutes later.
Why could the second train not go to Cardiff via Newport?
The simplest approach is to just split and join the trains at Rogerstone. It is also the most cost effective. If the run separate trains to Cardiff & Newport it doubles the costs but I doubt it would double the fares revenues. Splitting the trains is a low cost way to get the service going and to start to try to build up the passenger numbers. They also need to consider the impact on the current bus services as it will reduce passenger numbers on them
[quote][p][bold]exrisca[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JE Charles[/bold] wrote: The easiest solution is to create a bay platform in the new Pye Corner Station and run a shuttle service from there to Newport Station.[/p][/quote]But anyone then wanting to go from Newport by rail would have to change again a few minutes later. Why could the second train not go to Cardiff via Newport?[/p][/quote]The simplest approach is to just split and join the trains at Rogerstone. It is also the most cost effective. If the run separate trains to Cardiff & Newport it doubles the costs but I doubt it would double the fares revenues. Splitting the trains is a low cost way to get the service going and to start to try to build up the passenger numbers. They also need to consider the impact on the current bus services as it will reduce passenger numbers on them Bobevans
  • Score: -9

2:19pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Walter Devereux says...

The fact that there is even debate about this shows that the WAG have no real intention of doing what they promised when the heavy end of Llanwern steelworks closed in 2001. There was never talk of a ridiculous service to Cardiff, and now they are talking about two. You could not make it up.
The fact that there is even debate about this shows that the WAG have no real intention of doing what they promised when the heavy end of Llanwern steelworks closed in 2001. There was never talk of a ridiculous service to Cardiff, and now they are talking about two. You could not make it up. Walter Devereux
  • Score: 6

2:22pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Bobevans says...

On another transport note , First Bus have given notice that they are pulling out of operating the WAG subsidies Cardiff Airport Shuttle Bus service. I assume the contract was let on the basis of First Bus taking some of the commercial risk and it looks as if passengers numbers are well below what they expected so they are not getting the fares revenues they budgeted for.

A better option might be to reduce the service from every 20 minutes to every 40 minutes. Another option might be to alter the current Newport bus service X30 to serve Cardiff airport this would give a service to the airport from both Cardiff and Newport
On another transport note , First Bus have given notice that they are pulling out of operating the WAG subsidies Cardiff Airport Shuttle Bus service. I assume the contract was let on the basis of First Bus taking some of the commercial risk and it looks as if passengers numbers are well below what they expected so they are not getting the fares revenues they budgeted for. A better option might be to reduce the service from every 20 minutes to every 40 minutes. Another option might be to alter the current Newport bus service X30 to serve Cardiff airport this would give a service to the airport from both Cardiff and Newport Bobevans
  • Score: -4

2:50pm Thu 12 Jun 14

MERoden says...

We really need the Newport connection to open. There is no doubt about that. Therefore, the easiest solution would be to open the Newport connection and add Newport as a stop to the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff route. If you did that, you would be able to have the trains run every half hour instead of every hour, and both Newport and Cardiff would be served. People who want to go to Newport or places like Bristol, Gloucester, London would be able to change at Newport and have a much shorter journey than they do at the moment. People that want to go to Cardiff would still be able to go to Cardiff. That way, everyone would be happy.
We really need the Newport connection to open. There is no doubt about that. Therefore, the easiest solution would be to open the Newport connection and add Newport as a stop to the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff route. If you did that, you would be able to have the trains run every half hour instead of every hour, and both Newport and Cardiff would be served. People who want to go to Newport or places like Bristol, Gloucester, London would be able to change at Newport and have a much shorter journey than they do at the moment. People that want to go to Cardiff would still be able to go to Cardiff. That way, everyone would be happy. MERoden
  • Score: 7

3:05pm Thu 12 Jun 14

gingertom says...

they should have done this in the beginning if you are going to stump up 52 million for an airport you need better transport links all round wales.
Is labour realising how unpopular they are at the moment and responding accordingly?
The thing is edwina if you can throw money at pinewood who will probably bolt once the cash has dried up then you got to sort out projects like this one otherwise people remember these things when you need a vote of them.
they should have done this in the beginning if you are going to stump up 52 million for an airport you need better transport links all round wales. Is labour realising how unpopular they are at the moment and responding accordingly? The thing is edwina if you can throw money at pinewood who will probably bolt once the cash has dried up then you got to sort out projects like this one otherwise people remember these things when you need a vote of them. gingertom
  • Score: 3

3:30pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Walter Devereux says...

MERoden wrote:
We really need the Newport connection to open. There is no doubt about that. Therefore, the easiest solution would be to open the Newport connection and add Newport as a stop to the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff route. If you did that, you would be able to have the trains run every half hour instead of every hour, and both Newport and Cardiff would be served. People who want to go to Newport or places like Bristol, Gloucester, London would be able to change at Newport and have a much shorter journey than they do at the moment. People that want to go to Cardiff would still be able to go to Cardiff. That way, everyone would be happy.
Too easy, too obvious, too sensible. That's why it hasn't happened.
[quote][p][bold]MERoden[/bold] wrote: We really need the Newport connection to open. There is no doubt about that. Therefore, the easiest solution would be to open the Newport connection and add Newport as a stop to the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff route. If you did that, you would be able to have the trains run every half hour instead of every hour, and both Newport and Cardiff would be served. People who want to go to Newport or places like Bristol, Gloucester, London would be able to change at Newport and have a much shorter journey than they do at the moment. People that want to go to Cardiff would still be able to go to Cardiff. That way, everyone would be happy.[/p][/quote]Too easy, too obvious, too sensible. That's why it hasn't happened. Walter Devereux
  • Score: 5

6:05pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Bobevans says...

MERoden wrote:
We really need the Newport connection to open. There is no doubt about that. Therefore, the easiest solution would be to open the Newport connection and add Newport as a stop to the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff route. If you did that, you would be able to have the trains run every half hour instead of every hour, and both Newport and Cardiff would be served. People who want to go to Newport or places like Bristol, Gloucester, London would be able to change at Newport and have a much shorter journey than they do at the moment. People that want to go to Cardiff would still be able to go to Cardiff. That way, everyone would be happy.
You cannot have a half house service. The line is single track so it would be impossible
[quote][p][bold]MERoden[/bold] wrote: We really need the Newport connection to open. There is no doubt about that. Therefore, the easiest solution would be to open the Newport connection and add Newport as a stop to the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff route. If you did that, you would be able to have the trains run every half hour instead of every hour, and both Newport and Cardiff would be served. People who want to go to Newport or places like Bristol, Gloucester, London would be able to change at Newport and have a much shorter journey than they do at the moment. People that want to go to Cardiff would still be able to go to Cardiff. That way, everyone would be happy.[/p][/quote]You cannot have a half house service. The line is single track so it would be impossible Bobevans
  • Score: -5

9:21am Fri 13 Jun 14

MERoden says...

I agree with you there Bobevans. At the moment, it is single track, but it is mentioned in the article above that there are plans to add a passing loop. If they did this, then they would be able to have a half hourly service.

Even if they didn't bother with the passing loops and kept it at once an hour, the most important thing is opening the Newport connection. The Newport connection is really needed. Opening the Newport connection would also help to reduce the number of cars on our M4 motorway.
I agree with you there Bobevans. At the moment, it is single track, but it is mentioned in the article above that there are plans to add a passing loop. If they did this, then they would be able to have a half hourly service. Even if they didn't bother with the passing loops and kept it at once an hour, the most important thing is opening the Newport connection. The Newport connection is really needed. Opening the Newport connection would also help to reduce the number of cars on our M4 motorway. MERoden
  • Score: 1

9:43am Fri 13 Jun 14

-trigg- says...

but if the trains ran to Newport first it would add an extra 5 mniutes to the journey time into Cardiff - that is clearly unacceptable!

And think of all those shoppers who might be tempted to visit Newport instead of the WAGs shiny jewel in the crown (assuming Newport gets its act together and offers people a reason to go there instead of a reason to avoid it).
but if the trains ran to Newport first it would add an extra 5 mniutes to the journey time into Cardiff - that is clearly unacceptable! And think of all those shoppers who might be tempted to visit Newport instead of the WAGs shiny jewel in the crown (assuming Newport gets its act together and offers people a reason to go there instead of a reason to avoid it). -trigg-
  • Score: -1

5:57pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Aquarius says...

Bobevans wrote:
On another transport note , First Bus have given notice that they are pulling out of operating the WAG subsidies Cardiff Airport Shuttle Bus service. I assume the contract was let on the basis of First Bus taking some of the commercial risk and it looks as if passengers numbers are well below what they expected so they are not getting the fares revenues they budgeted for.

A better option might be to reduce the service from every 20 minutes to every 40 minutes. Another option might be to alter the current Newport bus service X30 to serve Cardiff airport this would give a service to the airport from both Cardiff and Newport
The Newport Bus X30 is a commercial service, Bob. It's specified and operated by the bus company with no subsidy. Nothing to do with the Welsh Government.

I imagine that if Newport Bus thought there was a commercial for a service to Cardiff Airport (either by extending an existing service or by introducing a new one) they would probably have done so by now. Whether they'd be interested in bidding to operate any part of the airport service is another matter; perhaps they - or any other operator - might be interested if Government subsidy takes up the shortfall.

We don't know why First Bus want to come off the route. They may have operational considerations of their own, quite apart from the revenue issues (the revenue risk is - I believe - borne by the WG, rather than the operator).

I think these issues are all rather more complex than all of us realise. The fact is that if the WG were THAT set on starting a service to Newport, they probably could. But it's forever 2 years further down the road, with a lot of 'coulds' and 'maybes'.
[quote][p][bold]Bobevans[/bold] wrote: On another transport note , First Bus have given notice that they are pulling out of operating the WAG subsidies Cardiff Airport Shuttle Bus service. I assume the contract was let on the basis of First Bus taking some of the commercial risk and it looks as if passengers numbers are well below what they expected so they are not getting the fares revenues they budgeted for. A better option might be to reduce the service from every 20 minutes to every 40 minutes. Another option might be to alter the current Newport bus service X30 to serve Cardiff airport this would give a service to the airport from both Cardiff and Newport[/p][/quote]The Newport Bus X30 is a commercial service, Bob. It's specified and operated by the bus company with no subsidy. Nothing to do with the Welsh Government. I imagine that if Newport Bus thought there was a commercial for a service to Cardiff Airport (either by extending an existing service or by introducing a new one) they would probably have done so by now. Whether they'd be interested in bidding to operate any part of the airport service is another matter; perhaps they - or any other operator - might be interested if Government subsidy takes up the shortfall. We don't know why First Bus want to come off the route. They may have operational considerations of their own, quite apart from the revenue issues (the revenue risk is - I believe - borne by the WG, rather than the operator). I think these issues are all rather more complex than all of us realise. The fact is that if the WG were THAT set on starting a service to Newport, they probably could. But it's forever 2 years further down the road, with a lot of 'coulds' and 'maybes'. Aquarius
  • Score: 2

6:23pm Fri 13 Jun 14

displayed says...

Mr Jones said the Pye Corner station in the west of Newport, that is due to open in December of this year, “will improve access to Newport.”

Its coming along, slowly..............
....
Mr Jones said the Pye Corner station in the west of Newport, that is due to open in December of this year, “will improve access to Newport.” Its coming along, slowly.............. .... displayed
  • Score: 1

10:25am Mon 16 Jun 14

ancientsolar says...

There is a disused 3 platform station at Aberbeeg which used to be used to split the valley toward Abertillery and the other to Ebbwvale.
If this station was opened up and the line extended towards Abertillery. A 2nd Cardiff train could terminate there.
This would keep the Ebbwvale line free for a Newport train.

Until that is available it would seem sensible to create a Newbridge/Crosskeys/
Risca-Newport train route where there is a lot more interest for Newport than Cardiff.
There is a disused 3 platform station at Aberbeeg which used to be used to split the valley toward Abertillery and the other to Ebbwvale. If this station was opened up and the line extended towards Abertillery. A 2nd Cardiff train could terminate there. This would keep the Ebbwvale line free for a Newport train. Until that is available it would seem sensible to create a Newbridge/Crosskeys/ Risca-Newport train route where there is a lot more interest for Newport than Cardiff. ancientsolar
  • Score: 0

10:26am Mon 16 Jun 14

ancientsolar says...

There is a disused 3 platform station at Aberbeeg which used to be used to split the valley toward Abertillery and the other to Ebbwvale.
If this station was opened up and the line extended towards Abertillery. A 2nd Cardiff train could terminate there.
This would keep the Ebbwvale line free for a Newport train.

Until that is available it would seem sensible to create a Newbridge/Crosskeys/
Risca-Newport train route where there is a lot more interest for Newport than Cardiff.
There is a disused 3 platform station at Aberbeeg which used to be used to split the valley toward Abertillery and the other to Ebbwvale. If this station was opened up and the line extended towards Abertillery. A 2nd Cardiff train could terminate there. This would keep the Ebbwvale line free for a Newport train. Until that is available it would seem sensible to create a Newbridge/Crosskeys/ Risca-Newport train route where there is a lot more interest for Newport than Cardiff. ancientsolar
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree