THE PROGRESS made in plans for six new railway stations between Cardiff and England has been hailed as an “encouraging step” towards tackling issues with congestion on the M4 around Newport.

A new £2.7 million study was announced by the UK and Welsh Governments earlier this month to explore options for new rail links between south Wales and England.

The study is in response to the findings of the Union Connectivity Review, led by Sir Peter Hendy, which highlighted an “urgent need to relieve congestion on the M4”.

A range of options were set out by the Union Connectivity Review, including the development of five brand new stations between Cardiff and the Severn Tunnel.

Ministers in Wales have endorsed plans to create six new railway stations in south east Wales, as recommended in the report from Lord Burns and the South East Wales Transport Commission.

The Burns Delivery Unit’s annual report, published in January, said the £2.7 million of Department for Transport funding was being used “to progress the technical studies needed for rail timetabling, station feasibility designs and an outline business case”.

South Wales Argus: The proposed new railway stations between Cardiff and England.The proposed new railway stations between Cardiff and England. (Image: Burns Delivery Unit)

“Once this work is complete during 2023, Welsh Government, the Department for Transport and Network Rail will need to make a decision on proceeding to the next stage of development and then delivery,” it continued.

The proposed stations detailed on the map are Newport Road, Cardiff Parkway, Newport West, Newport East, Llanwern and Magor - although plans for Cardiff Parkway have themselves been hit by delays in the recent past.

But while money has been earmarked for the feasibility study, who - if anyone - would fund the new stations has not been settled.

The Burns Delivery Unit said the full project would need “significant capital investment”.

“We therefore encourage Welsh Government, Department for Transport and Network Rail to continue to work together through the newly formed Wales Rail Board to develop the projects jointly and secure the UK Government funding needed,” they said.

“Welsh Government budgets in the next few years will be very tight because of the knock-on effects of funding cuts at Westminster.

“There is a risk this will mean that insufficient funding is available for delivery of key infrastructure schemes, and that implementation is delayed.”

Jonas Keat, policy advisor for Wales at Logistics UK, called for “greater collaboration between the UK and Welsh governments” on the project after the announcement of the study, and said the progress on the rail links was “an encouraging step towards easing congestion on the M4”.