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MPs call for revised strategy for Welsh rail investment

Words: Roger Milne
Rail line / Shutterstock_88160386

MPs have urged the UK Government and the Welsh administration to identify ‘cost-effective’ options for improving the rail network in Wales.

Examples highlighted by the Commons Welsh Affairs Committee include straightening the track between Cardiff and Swansea and the emerging proposals for a so-called Swansea Bay Metro.

The committee insisted that there was strong case for investing the £430 million saved because of the cancellation of the proposed electrification of the railway line between Cardiff and Swansea into other infrastructure projects.

This cancellation followed failures by Network Rail and the UK Department for Transport to manage the Great Western rail programme effectively.

The MPs want the two governments and Network Rail to develop a revised route study for Wales over the next 12 months.

“This study should examine all options for improving the South Wales railway,” stressed the parliamentary committee.

The MPs made it clear they were particularly interested in the idea of a rail-based Swansea Bay Metro project, which would mean investment in rail links to and within Swansea Bay, including a major new line route from Swansea to Baglan.

The Metro proposals have emerged as a potential key component of the Swansea Bay City Deal.

The committee also recommended that the UK Government should assess the feasibility of devolving responsibility for rail infrastructure to the devolved administration.

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