Abertillery rail link could cost £16.7m, says South East Wales Transport Alliance
A SCHEME to expand the Ebbw Valley train line on to a new spur to Abertillery could cost £16.7 million to build.
A report to the South East Wales Transport Alliance (SEWTA) also says the proposed extension to Ebbw Vale Town could be a "quick win" for the railway line.
Blaenau Gwent's AM Alun Davies has also claimed he is in talks with the Welsh Government and Blaenau Gwent to bring the Ebbw Vale extension to fruition.
An Ebbw Valley Railway update to SEWTA, which met on Friday, said that the estimated cost to build a service to Abertillery is £16.7 million.
Part of the existing track bed is used as a cycleway, but has enough space available for the provision of a single rail track.
The track bed itself is already owned by Blaenau Gwent council, while the station location in Abertillery would be a former Co-op store site.
However transport minister Carl Sargeant recently said the spur to Abertillery was not a priority for the next three years.
Meanwhile the Ebbw Vale Town Extension, where a station would be built at next to the grade II listed former British Steel General Office, has the possibility to be a "quick win", the update says, as the alignment in place and owned by the council.
Alun Davies, Blaenau Gwent AM, said the extension should be a priority.
"I'm currently in talks with Welsh Government and Blaenau Gwent to resolve issues to make sure that can happen and happen as soon as possible," he said.
A Welsh Government spokesman confirmed that the AM had met the minister to discuss the matter.
* Electrifying the Ebbw Vale line could boost demand and reduce its operating costs.
The SEWTA report said proposals by the UK Government to electrify the Ebbw Valley line could further improve the business case for a link to Newport.
It said forecast demand could rise by four to five per cent while operating costs could fall by 30 per cent.
The Argus has campaigned for a Newport passenger link to Ebbw Vale for more than a decade.
Building a station at Pye Corner in Newport could be cheaper than previously thought as well, after a value engineering exercise bringing down estimated costs from £5.7 million to £2.8 million.
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