A NEW £6.5 million train station in Ebbw Vale is being looked at in a bid to link the town centre to the new passenger rail line.

The Assembly commissioned Network Rail to develop an outline plan for a new station in the town centre, a mile north of the current Ebbw Vale parkway stop.

The idea would see a station built on The Works regeneration site next to the grade II listed former British Steel General Office, which is being turned into a genealogy centre and records office.

The line from the parkway station would follow an existing line through the steelworks, which once served the plant and a train station at Ebbw Vale's rugby ground Eugene Cross Park, which closed in the 1960s.

Economy and transport minister Ieuan Wyn Jones approved Network Rail’s report and is taking this idea to the next level and has now asked it to do further design and feasibility work which will take around a year to complete.

The £6.5 million would include the station and associated works.

The study will also consider the prospects for a Newport to Ebbw Vale line, which could be up and running by 2011.

Work at Gaer Junction to improve signalling to carry a passenger link is due to be commissioned in October and this needs to be completed before the line could open.

As well as the Gaer signalling work, a second £22.5 million track would need to be built that runs between Llanhilleth and Crosskeys to allow trains to pass each other on the line before a Newport service could start.

Passengers from the Ebbw Valley currently have to travel to Cardiff and change to get to Newport, or get a service bus from Rogerstone to the city centre, after the rail link buses that linked Rogerstone to Newport and Ebbw Vale parkway to the town centre were scrapped.

If the idea is taken up by the Assembly, the whole scheme could cost around £32.6 million, according to consultants Halcrow who were brought in to look at the cost of the proposal.