Calls for improved Ebbw valley service in wake of electrification plans
3:10pm Monday 16th July 2012 in Gwent news
CALLS were made for a half hourly service from Ebbw Vale to Cardiff today by a Valleys MP.
Welsh politicians welcomed today’s announcement by transport minister Justine Greening of plans to electrify Wales's Valleys Lines including the Ebbw Valley line by 2019.
The move carries the promise of slashing journey times and boosting capacity for passengers.
Nick Smith, Blaenau Gwent MP, said a campaign must now start to improve frequency on the line, and said the priority was an improved service to Cardiff.
Mr Smith said the move will "shorten rail journeys" and lead to improved track and signal infrastructure.
"We have got to campaign for improved frequency. When we surveyed passengers on the line a couple of months ago they said they wanted a half hour service or better," he said.
He said Network Rail needed to look at redoubling all or some of the Ebbw Vale line - which would allow trains to pass each other on what is currently a single track.
"Over time I would like to see a 15 minute service from Ebbw Vale to Cardiff. Our next ambition has got to be a half hourly to Cardiff," he said.
He said he would like to see services from Newport and Bristol on the line. However he added: "The priority is for improved services to Cardiff."
Alun Davies, Blaneau Gwent AM, said it was excellent news for Ebbw Vale and Blaenau Gwent.
He said: “We need to now focus on extending the service to the centre of Ebbw Vale and to include Abertillery to ensure greater rail capacity and connectivity.”
Carl Sargeant, Welsh government transport minister, said: "Electrification of the Valley Lines offers the opportunity for a step change in mobility and connectivity to employment centres for our Valleys communities, as well as a larger employment catchment area for businesses looking to invest in the region."
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