Build a new line
4:44pm Tuesday 3rd September 2013 in Letters
Mark Williams, MP for Ceredigion, is right to call for the hourly service from Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth, which the Welsh Assembly Government promised “by 2011”. The track upgrades to permit the service should be completed by December 2013. All that will be needed then is funding to run the extra services.
However, if the hourly trains are introduced I hope this will not be at the cost of through trains from Shrewsbury to Pwlhelli, which would reduce the existing services from 4 carriages between Shrewsbury and Machynlleth to 2 carriages.
As for re-opening the Carmarthen – Aberystwyth line, this would not be a move fit for the 21st century. A petition to the national assembly prompted responses that the rail journey time was over two and a half hours, compared to today’s bus service which takes 2hrs 15mins. I would instead call for building a new line between the two, instead of reopening the old slow one. Unfortunately the cost probably makes this a non-starter.
Nevertheless, I believe a route for a new line between the two should be identified and safeguarded from development, in case building it ever becomes viable. Once a route has been identified, I suggest building the section from Llanfarian into Aberystwyth as a bus-only road (on condition that it would be relinquished for rail use if the line ever gets built) to bypass the horrendous morning traffic jam.
The promised TrawsCymru TC1 service, running hourly from 6am to 8pm between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen, would go some way towards alleviating the need for a rail link (currently the last bus to Carmarthen leaves at 5:15pm). Sadly the Welsh Government seems to have given up on this.
THOMAS J. WHEELER