CAERLEON residents have launched their campaign to restore a former railway station more than 60 years after passengers last boarded a train.

This Saturday, January 27, residents set about sketching a battle plan to bring rail services back to the town. Local Welsh Labour MS Ruth Jones and Welsh Conservative MS Natasha Asghar, shadow transport minister in the Senedd, have already thrown their weight behind the campaign.

Local enthusiasm for restoring the former station, which can still be seen below the bridge on Lodge Road, has so far failed to garner the same support from the Welsh Government, despite proposals to build new stations in Newport West, Somerton and Llanwern.

READ MORE: Plans for new train stations in Newport, Llanwern and Cardiff

After an hour-long discussion, the group gave itself a name: Towards Restoring a Caerleon Station, or “TRACS”.

Caerleon councillor Steve Cocks has been appointed as chair. He said: “We had a packed-out meeting in November which showed overwhelming support for the idea of a station in Caerleon.

South Wales Argus: TRACS met for the first time this weekendTRACS met for the first time this weekend (Image: Huw Davies)
“The purpose of this meeting was to set up the group on a formal basis and it is really encouraging to have so many committed and qualified people willing to join.

“It is good to see support for a station across the political spectrum.”

Transport for Wales said a new Caerleon station, as part of its long-term proposals, is a "consideration in current development work".

'Ticks a lot of boxes'

Shadow transport minister Natasha Asghar MS said there was “positivity in the air” at the first formal meeting in what promises to be a long and hard-fought campaign.

“I understand how long and difficult these processes can be with gaining the right support and funding from organisations such as Transport for Wales, to get the job done," she said.

“The residents are passionate about this project and deserve the same attention the Cardiff-based lines receive.

“Once the group puts their feasibility report together, I sincerely hope the powers that be listen to the proposals and give the necessary support to make this exciting project happen.”

Ruth Jones MP for Newport West also attended the meeting, pointing to the “widespread support” in the town which even bridges the party political divide.

She said a new railway station would help to get people out of cars, improve air quality and bolster travel links between Newport city centre and the National Roman Legion Museum.

"This ticks a lot of boxes and it’s abundantly clear why we’ve already seen such a widespread public support," said Ms Jones. "I’m proud to be supporting the campaign."

A spokesperson for Transport for Wales said: "We recognise there are long-standing aspirations for a station at Caerleon.

"The station currently forms part of our long-term proposals for the route and is a consideration in current development work, however, presently there is no funding available to further develop proposals for this station.

"As the railway in Wales is not devolved, funding for new rail projects outside of the Core Valleys Lines is the responsibility of the UK Government."