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Carmarthen and Aberystwyth rail link restoration ‘feasible’

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A REPORT prepared for the Welsh Government says that the restoration of the rail link between Carmarthen and Aberystwyth is feasible.

However, the report, prepared by the Mott MacDonald consultancy, also reveals that the £775m scheme does not present a positive economic case. As such, it is only likely to be progressed in regard to wider societal needs, and strategic aims.

The constraints of low local population levels (and levels of business, leisure, tourism activity, etc.) impose the key constraint on realistic demand levels and achievable economic benefit.

Subject to the satisfactory resolution of challenges presented by the proposed route, initial operational assessments have determined that, if reinstated, it could provide a regular hourly train service between Aberystwyth, Llanilar, Tregaron, Lampeter, Llanybydder, Pencader and Carmarthen, with an end to end journey time of around 85 minutes.

Based on a 2024 opening, initial demand assessments indicate that the reinstated railway service could attract up to 370,000 trips in its first year of operation, rising to 425,000 and 489,000 in the assessment years of 2027 and 2037 respectively.

The report notes that significant further work is needed to assess the local impact and the effect of the route’s re-opening on properties and environmentally sensitive areas cross by the proposed line.

Plaid Cymru’s local AMs and MPs called on the Welsh and UK Governments to work together to prioritise the reinstating of the rail link between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen.

In spite of the report’s failure to make a positive economic case, the Plaid representatives are optimistic that the cost can be met, so long as the UK and the Welsh Governments work together positively.

Elin Jones AM, said: “The Mott Macdonald report is the game-changer needed in the campaign to reinstate Aberystwyth to Carmarthen Rail Link. I’ve lived alongside this rail corridor almost all my life and I’ve never seen a train. For the first time, I can see a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel in making this project a reality. It is now costed, it is technically feasible and it is now only a matter of political prioritisation by both Welsh and UK Governments.”

Ben Lake MP, said: “The report has thrown up many of the environmental and logistical constraints facing a project of this magnitude. But I am glad that the report has not shown the project the red light. I hope that communities along the route will now join together to consider the report’s implications and to put pressure on Governments to take the project to the next stage. I’ll be seeking an urgent meeting with the UK Railways Minister to discuss the report.”

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP, Jonathan Edwards, said: “The cost of this project at first appears substantial, but as we’ve seen this weekend, the scheme would be minuscule in comparison to the £100billion projected spend on the England-only HS2 railway. Wales has already lost out on rail funding out to the tune of £5billion. This could fund a host of infrastructure projects including the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth railway line.”

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM, and leader of Plaid Cymru, Adam Price AM said: “The decision to undertake the Technical Feasibility Study was a result of Plaid Cymru’s budget negotiations with the Welsh Government, and I welcome its optimistic and detailed assessment of the task ahead. It is an opportunity to create a national rail corridor starting with Carmarthen to Aberystwyth. This is an exciting and imaginative idea that I think will inspire people and will change the shape of our nation. If the Welsh Government is serious about developing every part of Wales, then this is the opportunity to prove it.”

With Wales’ transport infrastructure in the spotlight, Welsh Government ministers will be mindful of growing concerns that it is too focussed on the area around its own bubble in the Bay at the rest of Wales’ expense.

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Community

Wizardry night a success at Aberystwyth Library

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The fourth Harry Potter Book Night was held at Aberystwyth Library on Friday, 07 February.

After dark, it was a time for fans to celebrate the iconic series of books with events all around the World.

Ceredigion Library Service held the event at Aberystwyth Town Library, which was decorated with all things Harry Potter.

Emyr Lloyd and Delyth Huws, both Assistant Librarians organised the night. They were very pleased with the success and turnout. Emyr Lloyd said, “We enjoy putting on the Harry Potter Book night. The fourth one was no different with 86 children attending the free event and very positive feedback. We hope events such as these spark a joy of reading in the young and old.”

Three Owls from New Quay Birds of Prey came by and Luke the close-up magician entertained the audience. The children were also entertained with a reading from one of the books and also a crafts and activities area.

Follow the events of the Ceredigion Library Service on Facebook @llyfrgellceredigionlibrary. The next event will be a sale of stock on 22 February between 10am and 4pm at the Bandstand in Aberystwyth.

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Cymraeg

Noson hudolus yn Llyfrgell Aberystwyth

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Cynhaliwyd Noson Llyfrau Harry Potter yn Llyfrgell Aberystwyth ddydd Gwener, 07 Chwefror. Hon oedd y bedwaredd noson o’r fath.

Ar ôl iddi nosi, roedd hi’n amser i edmygwyr y llyfrau ddathlu’r gyfres eiconig gyda digwyddiadau ledled y byd.

Cynhaliodd Gwasanaeth Llyfrgell Ceredigion y digwyddiad yn Llyfrgell Tref Aberystwyth, ac addurnwyd y llyfrgell gyda phob math o bethau sy’n gysylltiedig â Harry Potter.

Trefnwyd y noson gan Emyr Lloyd a Delyth Huws, Llyfrgellwyr Cynorthwyol. Roeddent yn falch iawn â llwyddiant y noson a’r nifer oedd yn bresennol yn y digwyddiad. Dywedodd Emyr Lloyd, “Rydym yn mwynhau cynnal nosweithiau Llyfrau Harry Potter. Nid oedd y bedwaredd noson o’r fath yn eithriad; mynychodd 86 o blant y digwyddiad am ddim, a derbyniwyd adborth cadarnhaol iawn. Rydym yn gobeithio y bydd digwyddiadau fel y rhain yn swyno’r hen a’r ifanc i fwynhau darllen.”

Daeth tair tylluan o Adar Ysglyfaethus Cei Newydd i’r digwyddiad, a bu Luke yn diddanu’r gynulleidfa gyda’i hud a’i ledrith. Diddanwyd y plant hefyd gyda darlleniad o un o’r llyfrau ac ardal gweithgareddau a chrefftau.

Dilynwch ddigwyddiadau Gwasanaeth Llyfrgell Ceredigion ar Facebook @llyfrgellceredigionlibrary. Y digwyddiad nesaf yw arwerthiant stoc ar 22 Chwefror rhwng 10am a 4pm yn y Bandstand yn Aberystwyth.

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Warnings issued as Storm Ciara predicted to hit west Wales

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NATURAL RESOURCES WALES (NRW) is urging people living near the Welsh coast to be prepared for possible flooding this weekend as Storm Ciara reaches the UK.

Current forecasts indicate that strong winds could cause a tidal surge and large waves hitting the coast.

Combined with heavy rainfall which is likely to see rivers rise quickly, NRW expects to issue flood alerts and possibly warnings across the country from Saturday afternoon through to Monday.

With the worst of the conditions expected on Sunday, NRW advises people to keep a safe distance from coastal paths, promenades, piers, and from river banks.

Emergency response workers from NRW are already making preparations ahead of the storm, checking defences are in good working order and making sure any drainage grids and screens are clear, to reduce the risk to people and their homes.

Richard Preece, from Natural Resources Wales said: “Our teams are keeping a close eye on forecasts and predicted river and sea levels this weekend, and if necessary, will issue flood warnings to registered properties in those areas at risk.

“We have already been speaking with our partners from the emergency services and the local authorities so they can put their plans into action.

“We are also warning people to avoid visiting the sea front due to the risk of being swept away by large waves or hit by wave and wind-blown debris.

“Flood water can also be extremely dangerous, and people should not attempt to walk or drive through it unless instructed by the emergency services.”

Network Rail and Transport for Wales have issued joint information ahead of Storm Ciara, which is expected to bring strong winds and heavy rain to the Wales and Borders route this weekend.

The Met Office has issued a yellow wind warning for the whole of the UK and two yellow rain warnings on Sunday.

Transport for Wales Operations Director Martyn Brennan and Amanda Newton, Senior Incident Officer at Network Rail said: “With Storm Ciara set to bring gale force winds of up to 90mph on Sunday, Transport for Wales and Network Rail wish to urge all customers to check their journeys prior to travel.

“We’re expecting very stormy conditions, high tides and winds that have the potential to uproot trees and damage infrastructure.

“The safety of our customers and colleagues is our absolute priority and as such there are likely to be a number of speed restrictions in place around our network, while some other lines may be forced to close entirely. We are working closely together to minimise any disruption and will do all we can to keep our customers moving and informed.”

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