Development of north-south Wales railway to be explored as part of Plaid-Labour cooperation agreement

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A Heart of Wales Line train (pic by Stephen Miles)

The development of north-south rail links within Wales are to be explored by the Welsh Government as part of the Plaid Cymru and Labour cooperation agreement. The agreement says that Transport for Wales, which was nationalised by the Welsh Government last year, will be asked to look into the feasibility of a railway on the west coast of Wales. The agreement includes a commitment to “ask Transport for Wales (TfW) to explore the development of transport links between North and South Wales, including how to protect potential travel corridors on the west coast of Wales”.

“We will continue to press ahead with Metro developments to improve connectivity and encourage people to switch to public transport,” it said. “We will ask TfW to work with local authorities in North West Wales and the Welsh Government to develop plans for an integrated transport system.” The campaign group Traws Link Cymru was formed in 2013 with aim of reinstating the railway lines between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen, and Afon Wen to Bangor, both of which were closed to passengers under the 1960s Beeching Cuts.

Last month the Welsh Government released a map that hinted that a north-south railway might be in the offing, but nothing has been confirmed so far. The agreement between Plaid Cymru and Labour is a joint policy programme covering 46 areas, ranging from the delivery of free school meals to all primary school pupils; a commitment to take immediate and radical action to address the second homes crisis, to long-term reform of the Senedd. Plaid Cymru Members will not be joining the Welsh Government as Ministers or Deputy Ministers.

Plaid Cymru will appoint a designated lead member for the agreement and committees made up of Welsh Ministers and Plaid Cymru designated members will be established to reach agreement on issues covered by the Co-operation Agreement.

‘Converted’ In September Civil engineer Bob Saxby from Traws Link Cymru told Golwg 360 he did not see any problem with the connection between Bangor and Afon Wen reopening. “I can’t see any major problems with using the old trackbed through to Afonwen, much of which still exists,” he said.

“In the few places where new roads have trespassed on the line, new bridges would need to be built and possibly some sections of the road realigned, as has been done elsewhere,” he said. “The tunnel under Castle Square in Caernarfon would need to be converted back from road to rail use but has very little traffic and would be even less needed as a road when the Caernarfon Bypass open. “There is room for a railway to go between Morrison car park and the council car park under the car park behind Asda, to a station very close to the walled town and bus station.

“As well as encouraging visitors to come here by train, taking the pressure of the A55 as well as local roads and car parks, a railway would enable local people to get jobs along the north of Wales coast rather than having to move to away to find work. ”

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Development of north-south Wales railway to be explored as part of Plaid-Labour cooperation agreement