AM secures urgent rail meeting

West Wales regional AM Joyce Watson will meet Network Rail representatives next week to discuss line closures, in the wake of recent storms.

Gale force winds and torrential rainfall earlier this month combined with high tides to cause significant damage right across the Welsh rail network.

Two of the hardest hit lines were Aberdovey to Pwllheli and between Llanelli and Carmarthen.

“The line closures caused, continue to cause, widespread disruption in mid and west Wales,” Mrs Watson said:

“I am aware there have been significant problems with transport along the Cambrian coast including to and from some schools and Pwllheli college.

“Carmarthen to Llanelli is a very busy line, with lots of people travelling to work in Swansea – the closure caused considerable inconvenience.”

“The storms were severe, yes, but they were not exceptional – we must expect similar weather conditions in coming years. Therefore I have requested an urgent meeting with Network Rail to discuss what more can be done to protect these lines from the sort of damage and destruction that we have seen this month.”

Llanelli to Carmarthen reopened on Tuesday (14 January) after damage to the sea-wall and erosion under the track at Ferryside closed the line for several days. The line between Dovey Junction and Pwllheli will remain closed for the foreseeable future due to debris and damage to a river bridge at Llandecwyn.

The Cambrian Coast line around Cardigan Bay took the full impact of storm, suffering damage at multiple locations. At Llanaber the beach protection was breached and the track bed was washed away resulting in extensive rail ballast loss and significant amounts of debris, including beach shingle and boulders, littering the line. Additionally, a large section of the concrete protection was undermined. There was also significant damage to the railway further south at Sandilands, north of Tywyn.

Mrs Watson will meet Network Rail representatives at the National Assembly on Tuesday (21 January).

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