TRAWS LINK CYMRU are to host a meeting to report on the progress of the campaign to re-open the rail line between Carmarthen and Aberwystwyth.
On Thursday March 19, in St. Peter’s Civic Hall, the West Wales Rail Campaigners will host the meeting, which will be open to the public.
Following two meetings held in Lampeter in Autumn 2013, Traws Link Cymru was formed in the spring of 2014. In order to provide a railway connection between north and south Wales, Traws Link want to re-build the rail link between Carmarthen and Aberwystwyth, as well as a connection between Afon Wen and Bangor.
In 1998, the idea to better the connection between the north and south of Wales was first put forward by Friends of the Earth. The idea gained renewed relevance when the Scottish Borders Railways, from Edinburgh to Galshiels, were due to reopen in 2015.
A debate was led by Simon Thomas (AM) at the Welsh Assembly in March 2014 and was supported by all political parties. It gave momentum to the campaign, and a meeting was soon held with Network Rail, who supported the idea.
8,000 signatures were accumulated over the summer, emphasising the desire for an improved connection. A survey of the trackbed indicated that less than 3% was already built on. The First Minister, Carwyn Jones, indicated his support and Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion have now voted to support the campaign, along with over 40 community and town councils along the line.
Traws Link are soon to meet with civil servants in Cardiff to help prepare for a Feasibility Study. They are also going to meet with the Minister of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb MP, to discuss plans for the improving railway links in Wales.
Traws Link have said: “The new railways will provide a swift connection across west Wales linking six universities and providing passengers with access to hospitals, shopping and cultural facilities. It will encourage investment and new job opportunities for one of the poorest parts of the EU and help sustain the Welsh language. In addition, the potential for freight transport will help to make our roads safer and encourage a more environmentally sustainable transport infrastructure.”
Adrian Kendon, the Chairperson of Traws Link Cymru, commented: “We expect that, following the devolution to the Welsh Government of responsibility for infrastructure and the completion of a feasibility study, the railway will be rebuilt from 2019 onwards. We have estimated the cost as being between £400m and £650m including devising new routes into Carmarthen and Aberwystwyth.”