THE revived Ebbw Valley railway line was named Welsh Project of the Year by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Judges chose the project because they said it made a significant contribution to the regeneration of the Ebbw Valley communities.

They said the railway had vastly improved transport in the area and helped to support the local economy.

Blaenau Gwent council leader, Cllr Des Hillman said: “When it opened, the railway quickly – within a few weeks – became a huge success and passenger journeys now exceed 55,000 a month.

“I want to personally congratulate all our partners in delivering this magnificent project and in particular our staff and the Assembly for their commitment to our vision.”

The project was led by Blaenau Gwent council and supported by Caerphilly Council, Newport Council and the Assembly.

Work included upgrading 18 miles of train track, renewing signalling and building six new stations.

The line has proved to be a huge, if controversial, success, with passengers but it currently only runs between Ebbw Vale Parkway and Cardiff despite calls from business leaders and politicians for a Newport link.

Last year the Assembly announced a further £2.6 million to be spent on installing a connection at Gaer junction in preparation for a link between the valley’s and Newport.

No indication was given to when trains may start running.

The Argus has campaigned for years to get the Ebbw Vale to Newport rail link up and running.