Newport council commissions work to lobby for City/Ebbw Vale link

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.

Council papers show that Capita Symonds was asked to draw up a business case supporting the provision of a direct passenger link between Ebbw Vale and Newport.

It was commissioned amid concerns that a business case prepared by Arup for the Welsh Government in 2011 was flawed as it excluded a direct link to Newport from Ebbw Vale.

The Capita work could form the basis of lobbying to the Welsh Government, according to council documents.

The details emerges ahead of a review by a scrutiny committee into railway development around Newport which could draw up a submission to the Welsh Government based on the business case.

In draft work done by Capita, included in a report to the committee, the consultants argue that the service would support economic growth in the Valley and Newport regions by boosting access to job opportunities.

It claims that the previous Arup work, in 2011, suggested that there was a poor financial and economic case for the scheme, and that there would be a passenger demand of 217,000.

That was despite work commissioned by the Welsh Government in 2009 from Halcrow which was more positive and suggested 552,000 trips could be taken within the first year.

Capita said Arup’s forecast was pessimistic.

“The proposed Ebbw Vale to Newport service is likely to reduce journey times for all trip modes into, out of and within the Valley, whilst providing a more direct link from the Valley to the Northern and Eastern parts of the UK,” the draft strategic outline case from Capita says.

“The service would support economic growth within the Valley and Newport regions by improving access to employment opportunities, in addition to developing business integration across the South East of Wales.

“Moreover, the service would help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants of the whole of the valley.”

The Street Scene, Regeneration and Safety scrutiny committee will decide how to go ahead with its review when it meets next Friday.

THE Argus has campaigned for more than a decade for the Welsh Government to push on with a passenger link from Newport to Ebbw Vale along the reopened Ebbw Valley line.

There has been overwhelming support in the city for the link to connect the Gwent Valleys with the city.

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.

Back in 2011 the then-transport minister Carl Sargeant told Gwent Tory AM Mohammad Asghar that a Network Rail study found the cost of upgrading the line could top £17 million.

This work would see a passing loop built at Llanhilleth and a second platform. The original line had cost £46 million to build.

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.

Where the extra train goes is potentially controversial – with Blaenau Gwent politicians Alan Davies AM and Nick Smith MP calling for an extra service to Cardiff.

Comments (13)

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8:52am Sat 31 May 14

john.hall1000 says...

How many more reports, and more money wasted on them are we going to have, it can be done, for over 2 weeks at the beginning of may they was running into Newport and out to Ebbw Vale. It's not rocket science, just a council wasting more money!.
How many more reports, and more money wasted on them are we going to have, it can be done, for over 2 weeks at the beginning of may they was running into Newport and out to Ebbw Vale. It's not rocket science, just a council wasting more money!. john.hall1000
  • Score: 14

9:28am Sat 31 May 14

Walter Devereux says...

The council have no option than to continue making reports and hoping the WAG will one day listen to reason...
The council have no option than to continue making reports and hoping the WAG will one day listen to reason... Walter Devereux
  • Score: -3

10:05am Sat 31 May 14

-trigg- says...

Whilst this is good news, a consultation is only the first in a long series of steps needed to get this service of the ground.

It is important that the proposal is for an additional service to Newport, rather than replacement of the existing Cardiff train. It is certainly not being the capabilities of the train system to offer more than one train per hour on this line.

Particularly with the ongoing development at various points along this line we need to be pushing for at least 1 service every half hour alternating between Newport and Cardiff as the terminus.
Whilst this is good news, a consultation is only the first in a long series of steps needed to get this service of the ground. It is important that the proposal is for an additional service to Newport, rather than replacement of the existing Cardiff train. It is certainly not being the capabilities of the train system to offer more than one train per hour on this line. Particularly with the ongoing development at various points along this line we need to be pushing for at least 1 service every half hour alternating between Newport and Cardiff as the terminus. -trigg-
  • Score: 4

10:50am Sat 31 May 14

jerymp says...

Would be interesting to know the actual cost , to us taxpayers, of these consultants. It's always puzzled me why we have many very well paid people in local government and also the health service and other bodies who appear to be incapable of submitting these things and have to pay large sums of our money to "consultants" to do what I naively thought we were paying them to do in the first place.
Would be interesting to know the actual cost , to us taxpayers, of these consultants. It's always puzzled me why we have many very well paid people in local government and also the health service and other bodies who appear to be incapable of submitting these things and have to pay large sums of our money to "consultants" to do what I naively thought we were paying them to do in the first place. jerymp
  • Score: 7

10:57am Sat 31 May 14

jerymp says...

john.hall1000 wrote:
How many more reports, and more money wasted on them are we going to have, it can be done, for over 2 weeks at the beginning of may they was running into Newport and out to Ebbw Vale. It's not rocket science, just a council wasting more money!.
One can only assume that the delay is due to control and signalling so if they ran into Newport for 2 weeks in May was this jeopardising safety in any way?
[quote][p][bold]john.hall1000[/bold] wrote: How many more reports, and more money wasted on them are we going to have, it can be done, for over 2 weeks at the beginning of may they was running into Newport and out to Ebbw Vale. It's not rocket science, just a council wasting more money!.[/p][/quote]One can only assume that the delay is due to control and signalling so if they ran into Newport for 2 weeks in May was this jeopardising safety in any way? jerymp
  • Score: 0

12:29pm Sat 31 May 14

Campaign for better transport/Swites.org.uk says...

ROUND PEGS IN SQUARE HOLES?
The first thing what is you want it to do,
Is it to regenerate the region and ad connectivity taking into account the needs
of the future?.
Or is it to stop desensitisation and remarks that you have forgotten rail is the most effective rapid transport system in the world ?
But you must take on board, An integrated transport policy for the region,
Now your going to pay consultancy firm for something we all ready now you can run trains into Newport?
Now the question is when?
To get over the imedate problem is an interchange station at the goldenmile or jest for the coucil to save face?. (PARK JCN GAER) But there is a draw back with this it is not on a multiple buss route and does not have conetivrty to walking and cycling routes. And there's not to much room for parking.
There is at the goldenmile and deer park. Use the track that is in place to bedwas, machen and rhiwderin for the train to newport anď only put metro halts. On that line thay take a mouth to put in there of the shelf concrete stations, Cutting congestion and emissions in the area and giving access for commuters, business, and the region ?
ALL IN THE REPORT GIVEN TO THE CITY COUNCIL AND WELSH ASEMBLEY?
by campaign for better transport uk(swites) Free of charge
ROUND PEGS IN SQUARE HOLES? The first thing what is you want it to do, Is it to regenerate the region and ad connectivity taking into account the needs of the future?. Or is it to stop desensitisation and remarks that you have forgotten rail is the most effective rapid transport system in the world ? But you must take on board, An integrated transport policy for the region, Now your going to pay consultancy firm for something we all ready now you can run trains into Newport? Now the question is when? To get over the imedate problem is an interchange station at the goldenmile or jest for the coucil to save face?. (PARK JCN GAER) But there is a draw back with this it is not on a multiple buss route and does not have conetivrty to walking and cycling routes. And there's not to much room for parking. There is at the goldenmile and deer park. Use the track that is in place to bedwas, machen and rhiwderin for the train to newport anď only put metro halts. On that line thay take a mouth to put in there of the shelf concrete stations, Cutting congestion and emissions in the area and giving access for commuters, business, and the region ? ALL IN THE REPORT GIVEN TO THE CITY COUNCIL AND WELSH ASEMBLEY? by campaign for better transport uk(swites) Free of charge Campaign for better transport/Swites.org.uk
  • Score: 1

12:46pm Sat 31 May 14

westender says...

The last time I caught a train to Cardiff just a few weeks ago it turned left at Park Junction through Gaer and Newport tunnels into Newport High street station, this was over track and through a signalling system declared not safe for passenger train traffic, anyone from Arriva or Network Rail care to comment?, the biggest stumbling block to increased traffic on the Ebbw vale line will be the fact it is single track from Crosskeys to Ebbw vale, ie the longest section , then crossing out onto the South Wales mainline at Newport will be a problem as well, fitting into the long distance and intercity traffic on a very busy route,
Living in Newbridge I am a frequent user of the railway to Cardiff I find the frequency of trains ok and hope that if a Newport service is started it wont detract from the service as a whole
The last time I caught a train to Cardiff just a few weeks ago it turned left at Park Junction through Gaer and Newport tunnels into Newport High street station, this was over track and through a signalling system declared not safe for passenger train traffic, anyone from Arriva or Network Rail care to comment?, the biggest stumbling block to increased traffic on the Ebbw vale line will be the fact it is single track from Crosskeys to Ebbw vale, ie the longest section , then crossing out onto the South Wales mainline at Newport will be a problem as well, fitting into the long distance and intercity traffic on a very busy route, Living in Newbridge I am a frequent user of the railway to Cardiff I find the frequency of trains ok and hope that if a Newport service is started it wont detract from the service as a whole westender
  • Score: 2

1:17pm Sat 31 May 14

Campaign for better transport/Swites.org.uk says...

Jest to clarify?
The newport sevice go's to interchange station and on to bedwas and cearphilly line? The cardiff train go to lnterchange station and go's to cardiff no problem. Or vice versa ?.
Jest to clarify? The newport sevice go's to interchange station and on to bedwas and cearphilly line? The cardiff train go to lnterchange station and go's to cardiff no problem. Or vice versa ?. Campaign for better transport/Swites.org.uk
  • Score: -2

1:54pm Sat 31 May 14

exrisca says...

If there is a second train each hour coming down the valley then why can it not travel to Cardiff via Newport? I have been on trains that have come into platform 4 and then gone on to Cardiff so it is perfectly possible. It would add about 5 minutes to the journey probably.
If there is a second train each hour coming down the valley then why can it not travel to Cardiff via Newport? I have been on trains that have come into platform 4 and then gone on to Cardiff so it is perfectly possible. It would add about 5 minutes to the journey probably. exrisca
  • Score: 2

4:36pm Sat 31 May 14

john.hall1000 says...

Why don't councils ever say how much these reports cost, what's the big secret? .
Why don't councils ever say how much these reports cost, what's the big secret? . john.hall1000
  • Score: 0

9:18pm Sat 31 May 14

33daverave says...

Where would you shop ?Cardiff or Newport ?

Tricky isn't it.
Where would you shop ?Cardiff or Newport ? Tricky isn't it. 33daverave
  • Score: -2

10:52pm Sat 31 May 14

gingertom says...

When the train started going to Cardiff it should have gone to Newport at the same time.
When the train started going to Cardiff it should have gone to Newport at the same time. gingertom
  • Score: 1

1:51pm Sun 1 Jun 14

chelsea fatboy says...

westender wrote:
The last time I caught a train to Cardiff just a few weeks ago it turned left at Park Junction through Gaer and Newport tunnels into Newport High street station, this was over track and through a signalling system declared not safe for passenger train traffic, anyone from Arriva or Network Rail care to comment?, the biggest stumbling block to increased traffic on the Ebbw vale line will be the fact it is single track from Crosskeys to Ebbw vale, ie the longest section , then crossing out onto the South Wales mainline at Newport will be a problem as well, fitting into the long distance and intercity traffic on a very busy route, Living in Newbridge I am a frequent user of the railway to Cardiff I find the frequency of trains ok and hope that if a Newport service is started it wont detract from the service as a whole
Line from Park Junction into Newport is safe for passenger trains to use, signalling work a few years ago put pay to the excuse of unfit signalling stopping passenger trains from travelling down the Gaer
[quote][p][bold]westender[/bold] wrote: The last time I caught a train to Cardiff just a few weeks ago it turned left at Park Junction through Gaer and Newport tunnels into Newport High street station, this was over track and through a signalling system declared not safe for passenger train traffic, anyone from Arriva or Network Rail care to comment?, the biggest stumbling block to increased traffic on the Ebbw vale line will be the fact it is single track from Crosskeys to Ebbw vale, ie the longest section , then crossing out onto the South Wales mainline at Newport will be a problem as well, fitting into the long distance and intercity traffic on a very busy route, Living in Newbridge I am a frequent user of the railway to Cardiff I find the frequency of trains ok and hope that if a Newport service is started it wont detract from the service as a whole[/p][/quote]Line from Park Junction into Newport is safe for passenger trains to use, signalling work a few years ago put pay to the excuse of unfit signalling stopping passenger trains from travelling down the Gaer chelsea fatboy
  • Score: 2

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