Politics

Assurances sought on railway electrification

Delays expected: No firm timescale given for rail electrification
Delays expected: No firm timescale given for rail electrification

FOLLOWING delays to the electrification of the Great Western Railway as far as Swansea, which was originally meant to have been completed in 2018, Jonathan Edwards has called for the Westminster Government to give a firm commitment and timescale for completing this work.

Mr Edwards’ call came after Transport Secretary Chris Grayling avoided giving a commitment at the Conservative party conference this weekend. Mr Grayling spoke about wanting new trains on the line but said it would be ‘jumping the gun’ to discuss electrification to Swansea.

The target date for electrification reaching Cardiff was originally 2017, and 2018 for Swansea.

A Network Rail report in November last year said the upgrade between Cardiff and Swansea would fall into its next five year plan, covering 2020 to 2024.

This week, the Transport Secretary said: “We are a way away from completing the link to Cardiff, which has got to be the first priority.” He added that new trains on the route will be ‘better capacity, more comfortable, modern trains before we get onto the next phase of the projects’.

Plaid Cymru’s Jonathan Edwards said new trains would not compensate for the ‘glacial pace of work and the continuous changing of deadlines’. He called on the Transport Secretary to give a firm and final commitment to when West Wales residents can expect full electrification.

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards said: “Another year goes by and it seems another commitment on delivering full electrification to Swansea has gone out the window. It’s time the Tories stopped moving the goalposts and put all possible resources into actually honouring its pledge.

“The timetable for electrification to Swansea has already been delayed by a potential six years. To have the Transport Secretary avoiding commitments on the later deadline is an insult.

“It’s all well and good talking about new trains, but that won’t compensate for the glacial pace of work and the continuous changing of deadlines.

“Delivering full electrification of the Great Western Mainline was one of the very few manifesto promise the Tories gave to the people of West Wales. They should now give a firm and final commitment to when we can expect full electrification.”

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Dayne Stone

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