AS WE reported in the Argus yesterday, the Assembly has 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.

This 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.

Blaenau Gwent council leader, Des Hillman, said: "The railway extension us an important part of The Works project as well and it encourages us all to look forward to further development of Blaenau Gwent's railway links in the future."

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.

Further design work will take around a year to finish and will consider the feasibility of a Newport to Ebbw Vale line, which could be running by 2011.

The £6.5 million includes station and associated work.

Blaenau Gwent AM Trish Law called it a huge financial commitment but said it will bring untold benefits to the borough.

Independent MP for Blaenau Gwent Dai Davies said these two developments will provide a "huge boost" to the borough’s economy.

Signalling improvements at Gaer Junction is due to be commissioned in October and needs to be done before the line could open.

Also, a second £22.5 million track needs to be built between Llanhilleth and Crosskeys to allow trains to pass each other before the 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 rail link buses which linked Rogerstone to Newport and Ebbw Vale parkway to the town centre were scrapped.

If the Assembly goes ahead, the scheme could cost around £32.6 million, according to consultants Halcrow.

'A good idea for everyone'

Sarah Worlock, 22, Rassau: "That would be a lot easier because they haven't got the bus for Parkway any more, with this you only have to get the bus from your house to town which would be a good thing."

Dawn Martin, 52, Cwm: "It would be a lot better for people and would be a lot easier, definitely. I want it to happen because it would be a lot better for people in the town."

Wayne Kinsey, 50, Cwm: "That would be brilliant, it would be a lot better and it would make it easier for people to use. Now, people have to get from town ot to Waunlwyd , with this it would be more straight forward."

Georgina Kinsey, 47, Cwm: "It's a good idea for everybody, we use it now and again to go shopping and it would make using it easier and would be more convenient for people in the town."

Sarah Thomas, 20, Willowtown: "It will be good, I can't drive and it will be easier for me to get to Cardiff when I go shopping and go out, at the moment, my partner drives me down so if it was in town, it would be a lot easier."

Andrea Thomas, 41, Glyncoed: "I think it will be great, I can't drive, so this would be easier and help more people to use it."

Darran Roberts, 42, Glyncoed: "That would be a lot easier to use, I'm a driver but it's out of town and if I want to go to Cardiff I have to park in the station and if I want to drink, I can't because I have to drive. It if was more central, I could leave the car at the house and go down the road, this will be a lot better for the community and something Ebbw Vale needs badly."