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No delay to rail electrification, demands Welsh Government

The Welsh Government has welcomed today's announcement of changes to Network Rail but says there should be no delay to plans to electrify the line from London to Swansea. A spokesperson says:

Yesterday the Prime Minister made clear his personal commitment to electrifying the main-line from London to Swansea. Therefore we would expect no slippage regarding this project, despite today’s news. The Welsh Government and the business community in Wales have been very clear about the economic case for electrification, and the Minister re-iterated this today in a constructive conversation with Claire Perry, the Under Secretary of State for Transport. The changes to Network Rail are welcome, we have been pressing for an overhaul of this organisation for some time.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

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Minister urged to confirm 2018 electrification date

Opposition parties are demanding that the Transport Minister confirms that the Great Western main line will still be electrified through to Swansea by 2018. Patrick McLoughlin told MPs that the project was a top priority and is going ahead when other electrification schemes are being "paused". But he told Plaid Cymru's Jonathan Edwards that he'd have to write to him about the completion date.

Mr Edwards said he was "concerned by the ambiguity" of the minister's response. The Liberal Democrats' spokesperson in the Assembly says she'll also be writing to Patrick McLoughlin.

It would be completely unacceptable for Welsh passengers to have to wait any longer than they already have for these vital improvements. I am particularly concerned that the Transport Minister failed to properly give a firm delivery date. That simply isn’t good enough.

– Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Eluned Parrott

But the Wales Office Minister Alun Cairns has backed today's announcement.

I'm pleased to hear the strong commitment to south Wales electrification through to Swansea from the Transport Secretary today. This project will transform the lives of people in South Wales by attracting investors, linking businesses to suppliers and connecting people to jobs.

– Wales Office Minister Alun Cairns MP
  1. Nick Powell

Great Western electrification "top priority"

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has told MPs that the electrification of the Great Western main line will be prioritised over other projects in the midlands and north of England as part of a crackdown on delays and rising costs at Network Rail. The state-owned company which controls the railway tracks is due to electrify the line from London to Swansea.

Electrification of the Great Western Line is a top priority and I want Network Rail to concentrate its efforts on getting that right.

On the Midland mainline better services can be delivered on that line before electrification. With things such as speed improvement works. So work on electrification will be paused.

The next franchise for the Transpennine route between Leeds and Manchester will bring modern trains and additional capacity. Current work on electrification will be paused because we need to be much more ambitious for that route.

– Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP

The minister told Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards that the government remained committed to electrifying through to Swansea on schedule, though he couldn't confirm that meant by 2018. He did not mention the electrification of the Valley Lines, which will largely be funded through the Welsh Government.

Network Rail promise better service with electric trains

Network Rail say the go-ahead for rail electrification in the Valleys will mean a better train service and boost the Welsh economy.

Electrification will transform the railway in south Wales, making journeys faster, more reliable, greener and quieter. An electrified railway will also help support economic growth by creating jobs and boosting the supply chain when work is undertaken, as well as providing a building block for future growth. It will help reduce journey times and boost commuting opportunities, making Wales a better place to do business.

– Mark Langham, Route Managing Director, Network Rail Wales

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Network Rail: 'Trespass is just not a risk worth taking'

Figures show that despite most people agreeing it’s dangerous to trespass on railway tracks, a third believe they would hear a train in time to move out of the way.

This increases to more than half of 16-24-year-old males.

Too many people think they would hear a train in time to move clear - tragically we know this isn’t the case.

The sound of a train approaching is much quieter than you would imagine, with the wheels pushing noise out sidewards, rather than forwards, and distorting what you hear.

Trespass is just not a risk worth taking.

– Mark Langman, Network Rail Wales Cymru

Risking lives on the rails: 'Shocking' video released

A video of one youngster's near-miss with a train has been released as part of a new Network Rail safety campaign.

The clip shows the young man sprinting across the railway tracks at Crosskeys in a fruitless attempt to board.

His actions have been condemned by Network Rail Wales Cymru as 'shocking', with a spokesperson saying rail trespass is 'just not a risk worth taking'.

There were 18 fatalities here over the past five years and 27 near-misses last year, with incidents occurring both at stations and along the railway.

Plans for new station unveiled

An artist's impression shows the station when finished. Credit: Network Rail

The final plans to build a £5.2m new station to serve Energlyn and Churchill Park in Caerphilly County Borough will be unveiled today at a public exhibition.

The new station will be located between Aber and Llanbradach.

Network Rail says it'll open at the end of this year. Credit: Artist's Impression/Network Rail

Network rail says the new station aims to serve a growing community.

When it's finished it will be operated by Arriva Trains Wales.

The station will take six months to build. Credit: Artist's Impression/Network Rail

The Welsh European Funding Office has helped to fund the scheme, which has been developed jointly by the Welsh Government, Network Rail, Caerphilly County Borough Council, South East Wales Transport Authority (SEWTA) and Arriva Trains Wales (ATW).

Debris cleared following Bargoed derailment

The debris has now been cleared from the line Credit: Network Rail

Work to clear the railway line between Rhymney and Barry has been completed. It's after trees and debris on the line caused a derailment yesterday morning.

A spokesperson from Network Rail confirmed that all debris was now clear, and the track is now fit for use.

Work is now underway with Arriva Trains Wales to resume normal train services as soon as possible.

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