5:20pm Thursday 27th May 2010
By Natalie Crockett
NEWPORT councillors reiterated the urgent need for a rail link between Newport and Ebbw Vale, saying the city is being bypassed because it is easier for passengers to travel to Cardiff.
The matter was raised at Tuesday’s council meeting by Labour councillor John Guy who asked the council’s cabinet member for economic development and regeneration, Cllr Ed Townsend, what he was doing to get the project moving.
Cllr Townsend said it was natural for shoppers to travel from Ebbw Vale to Newport and asked Labour councillors to urge their colleagues in the Assembly to give the scheme the go ahead.
He said: “Work with us and we will fight with you.”
“I will fight tirelessly to make sure that railway line gets here.”
Cllr Townsend said excuses that the line could not open because of signalling problems were not good enough and urged all members to join him in fighting for the line to be opened.
Cllr Margaret Cornelious said her work colleagues in Cross Keys regularly go out in Cardiff instead of Newport because it is more convenient to get there.
She said: “It is so sad for our city. It is an absolute must for Newport, the traders are pleading for it. We need the people from the valleys to come down and spend their money in Newport.”
The Argus has been campaigning for eight years for the Newport link to be open to ensure valleys residents have a link to shopping and work opportunities in the city.
The Cardiff line opened in February 2008, but the Newport line has been delayed because of signalling work, the need for an improved Gaer junction and a second £22.5 million track between Llanhilleth and Cross Keys.
To get to Newport passengers travelling from Ebbw Vale by train must change at Cardiff or get a bus from Rogerstone to the city centre.
An announcement on when trains will start running to Newport is expected from the Assembly shortly.
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