Aberystwyth-Carmarthen railway feasibility study to begin in September

A train passess Castell Coch near Cradiff. Picture: Train Photos (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

A full feasibility study into reopening the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen railway will begin in September.

The government has allocated £300,000 towards the study following a successful campaign by Traws Link Cymru.

Transport for Wales has chosen the engineering consultancy firm Mott Macdonald to carry out the work. They were also responsible for reviewing the case for the now reopened Borders railway in Scotland.

A scoping study was published in December 2015 which concluded that over 97% of the former trackbed was free of development and that there were no major obstacles in reinstating the line, which closed to passengers in 1965.

Traws Link Cymru Chairman Adrian Kendon said: “We are absolutely delighted that the full feasibility study is finally going ahead.

“Traws Link Cymru will be fully involved with the work to provide local knowledge and statistics to the engineers.

“You only have to look at the success of the Borders railway in Scotland to see that reinstated lines breathe new life into areas, bringing investment and tourism which boosts the local economy. It shows that if you build it, they will come.”

The greatest barriers are thought to be in the Aberystwyth area where there has been extensive development since the railway closed. It is thought it may be necessary to build a tunnel.


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Richard Mole
Guest

As a former resident of Llanbedr Pont Steffan, I’d love to see the railway reinstated – it’s so difficult getting back to visit the place – used to go for walks along the old railway line too. Wales deserves better connections, it’s utter madness having to travel into England to travel back if you’re travelling by train.

Gareth
Guest
Gareth

Don’t like the negativity that you place on having to go “into England” is that such a problem? I really don’t want Wales to become some isolated self contained unit. To get from the heads of each Valley in South Wales you have to go South into Cardiff, turn around and go back up another Valley. Lines exist due to both population centres, people flows and yes ticket sales. Aber – Carms makes sense to fill up a rail map. I just hope there are enough people en route to use it. The Borders Line which is often held up… Read more »

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

The north of England is planning high speed links east to west precisely because connecting everything to London, ultimately makes the Northern English economies weaker. People and revenues flow towards the magnets such as London and much less the other way. Wales needs more internal connectivity, not to be isolationist, but to create more economic vibrancy centered on these localities. Investors shun opportunities in west Wales because commuting to work centres is tricky. Face to face networking opportunities that create business opportunities are reduced. I would argue this is essential for rural Wales if it strives for more economically than… Read more »

Alex
Guest
Alex

Carmarthen links up directly with the South Wales Mainline, and this new line is essentially just a branch of that – the actual rebuilt part of the railway is between Carm and Aber, but the most logical train routes for the line would be between Aber and Swansea or Aber and Cardiff, as the original scoping study mentions.

So it is actually a lot more like the Borders Railway then you suggest.

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

the link to swansea and Cardif makes sense because they are economic hubs.

A case can be built for this line and it needs a champion to develop the wider perspective, which in my mind would focus on a wider plan for Caerfyrddin – historically an important political and economic centre and with a location that could make an interesting economic proposition.

Red Dragon Jim
Guest
Red Dragon Jim

Some people might flip their lid when they realise this came about as a deal between Plaid Cymru and the (Labour) government! But it just goes to show Labour wouldn’t have given it a second thought.

flofflach
Guest
flofflach

I’m sure that a few years ago there was support from Labour and Conservative AMs too, a cross party thing. I think there was even support from Carwyn Jones…and Jeremy Corbyn; but yes Plaid Cymru did make it a formal policy, Greens and Lib Dems made a feasibility study part of their manifestos.
Thought the funding had been announced late last year…is this announcement because the study has a start date?

Red Dragon Jim
Guest
Red Dragon Jim

I’m talking about government I suppose, but I don’t have that much faith it will go ahead. M4 is the priority. This needs a big ongoing push by AMs and MPs across the board.

Tame Frontiersman
Guest
Tame Frontiersman

Yes, the £300,000 was announced last October

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-mid-wales-37703727

What seems to be new news is engineering consultancy firm Mott Macdonald has been chosen to the carry out the study, but given they have been working with WG and Transport for Wales for some time, why the delay? No indication of when we can expect the report to be published from any media outlet or Traws Link Cymru so far today

http://trawslinkcymru.org.uk/language/en/

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

It will take real vision for this to happen and that’s something I think is missing. Transport and infrastructure within Wales, will boost our internal connectivity and create the conditions for developing a new economic model, but hypothetical, visionary models won’t get a look in. It will be turned down on simplistic current “evidence based” thinking.

Rhys Llwyd (@rhysllwyd)
Guest

Dwi’n hoffi’r syniad ond tybed a yw’r syniad mewn gwirionedd yn perthyn i’r un pair ag “ail agor y pyllau glo?” Dwi’n meddwl byddai buddsoddi yr arian ar wella ffyrdd yn fwy addas i ardal wledig fel
gorllewin Cymru, a gyda datblygiadau ceir a bysys trydan dros y degawdau nesaf mae’n gallu bod yr un mor wyrdd a rheilffordd hefyd.

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

“gyda datblygiadau ceir a bysys trydan dros y degawdau nesaf”

falle pethe fel hyn hefyd?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbeoTnuo2-U

Battery powered, autonomously operated, passenger drones. Expected to be in Use in Dubai shortly. Won’t be in our skies anytime soon, but worth thinking about what’s coming along in the future.

The Bellwether
Guest
The Bellwether

As someone who ‘commuted’ daily between Caerfyrddin and Newcastle Emlyn for several years (for work) and also has a daughter that travels intermittantly (and very reluctantly!) on the ‘Heart of Wales’ line (cf.Joseph Conrad) I suppose I am in a position to make a comment on this. Even if there was a rail service between Caerfyrddin and Aberystwyth nobody will use it. It is office commuters who pay for the railways (season tickets) and nobody else. I wouldn’t have used it and there are so few ‘commuters’ in this area of the Fro so how can it possibly be ‘economic’… Read more »

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

These arguments can get circular. Is the demand there today and the answers probably no. Why is there no demand – because Aberystwyth is remote. With this line in place Caerfyrddin would be able to indicate a very large graduate population within little more than an hours commuter radius (Aber, Swansea, Lampeter etc) . This should enhance its attraction as a high skilled business location. Aberystwyth is a place many would love to live (lifestyle and education are enviable) , but wonder about work opportunities. Isn’t this a move to answer that? It is speculative and needs a leap of… Read more »

welshpaddler
Guest

It would be better to open it as a long distance cycle/waling route.Cheaper and would pull in tourists with little worry of huge fares.

The Bellwether
Guest
The Bellwether

Now that’s a much better idea! (Although I’m not sure how many whales there are this far inland). The Towy valley cycle path has just started to be built and it’s certain to be a great success fully supported by the local populace (for once). A cycle route to Aber would be a terrific asset and draw for young people and for active older people.