Sunday, February 11, 2018


The missing rail link between Ebbw Vale and Newport to all intents and purposes is already open – trains occasionally run admittedly a tad irregularly from Ebbw Vale into Newport and vice versa. 

Driver training on the Gaer spur (Ian Brewer)
The rail line and the signalling works fine – so rather than the restoration of infrastructure and signalling - what’s actually lacking is a regularly timetabled service - that is a problem that requires a political solution, rather than an economic or infrastructure problem.

The Ebbw Vale line, at least to Cardiff, reopened in 2008 and carried a years worth of anticipated passengers in the first few months.

The new rail service failed to connect to Newport from day one - despite the implied promises and suggestions made before and since the railway line was reopened. 

By now even the Labour in Wales Welsh government (and their locally elected representatives) have run out of old tired excuses and tired soft weasel words to hide their failure or lack of any real commitment to deliver.

The failure to connect the Ebbw Vale line to Newport means that potential commuters living in communities in the Ebbw Valley remain unable to travel directly to Newport by train and have little choice but to use their cars. 

They are denied the opportunity of catching connecting trains to Bristol, London, Cheltenham and beyond as well travelling slightly more rapidly to Cardiff in the morning and evening.

A now and then rail service...
By now it is irrelevant as to whether this was a short-sighted ill thought out decision or a deliberate conscious decision not to run any rail service between Ebbw Vale and Newport. 

The end result remains the same in that commuters have no choice but to drive to work and help to feed the congestion of the overcrowded M4.

The Labour in Wales Welsh Government despite the on-going problems with the establishing proposed new rail franchise needs to work to fix the missing rail link. 

To start to fix this problem, we need a very public all-party commitment to ensure that a regular timetabled service to and from Ebbw Vale to Newport is part of the new all Wales rail franchise.

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