ASSEMBLY commitment to a timescale for the establishment of an Ebbw Valley rail link into Newport remains elusive.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said the Assembly's commitment to the remodelling of Gaer Junction - necessary to ensure trains can come into Newport on the Ebbw Valley line - remains.

But he failed to provide the "precise promise" on when trains from Ebbw Vale would start running directly into Newport, asked for by South Wales East regional AM Mohammad Asghar.

Mr Asghar asked the question of Mr Jones during a session of the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, and also asked the First Minister if he agreed that a direct rail link would provide traders "with significant opportunities to flourish in these tough economic times."

"Numerous traders across Newport believe that a direct rail link between Ebbw Vale and the city is essential for their future survival," said Mr Asghar.

Mr Jones acknowledged the importance of people travelling from Ebbw Vale and stations down the line having access to Newport as well as Cardiff.

"We are working with Network Rail to ensure that that happens,' he said.