DIRECT passenger trains between Crosskeys and Newport have returned this weekend after nearly 60 years.

Transport for Wales confirmed the long-awaited service would be reintroduced as part of a host of timetable changes from today (Sunday, December 12).

The first direct train was the 10:19 service from Newport to Crosskeys this morning - and the Argus was on board.

Back in 2018, we relaunched our Get Us Back On Track campaign, calling for the vital link between Newport and Ebbw Vale to be brought back into use.

On June 3 of that year, it was confirmed that by 2021 the route would be back.

At the Argus, we have been campaigning for the route to be reinstated since 2002.

Announcing the details in Cardiff back in 2018, then-first minister Carwyn Jones said the announcement marked “a new chapter for rail services in Wales”.

Travelling from Newport to Crosskeys and back today - on a day return ticket - cost £5.60, but other fares are available.

The journey, compared to having to go via Cardiff, is a speedy half hour each way.

Transport for Wales have announced the following changes to the Ebbw Valley line:

• Crosskeys – Newport (hourly service until 21:20 Monday to Saturday). New route.

• Crosskeys – Newport (every two hours Sundays). New route.

• Cardiff Central – Ebbw Vale Town (22:34 Monday to Friday). Additional service until 31st December 2021.

• Cardiff Central - Ebbw Vale Town (23:02 Friday). Additional service from 3rd January 2022.

• Cardiff Central – Ebbw Vale Town (23:07 Monday to Thursday). New service from 3rd January 2022.

• Cardiff Central - Ebbw Vale Town (23:02 Saturday). Additional service.

Colin Lea, Transport for Wales planning and performance director, said: “We are introducing more services across our network and making adjustments elsewhere from December 12. It’s really important for customers to check their journey details ahead of travelling.

“As we welcome more customers back to our services, some trains will be busier than they have been for a while, especially in the busy period leading up to Christmas. At present social distancing is not a requirement, but face coverings are mandatory, unless exempt.”