Railway electrification of Valley Lines announced
The UK Government has announced the electrification of the Valley Lines network as part of a £350million investment in Welsh railways.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has said the Valley Lines network will be electrified by 2019. The mainline between Cardiff and Swansea will be electrified.
Caerphilly Business Forum has welcomed the electrification plans.
Tony Sheehan, Chairman of Caerphilly Business Forum, said: “The electrification of the Valleys rail lines is excellent news – and not only for the South Wales Valleys but also for the rest of Wales too.
“The reduction in carbon emissions by the line being electrified will give green benefits for years to come.
“One of the challenges the Valleys face is being well connected – or at least being seen to be well connected. In many ways, parts of the Valleys already have better transport links than our neighbouring cities but these electrification plans will further improve that and help bring the whole region closer together.
“From Caerphilly’s own perspective, businesses and people in Cardiff and the rest of South Wales will have greater access to the rich and diverse business resources available here. They’ll feel more inclined to consider us in both their business plans.
“It will also help people from Caerphilly County Borough who are looking for work in Cardiff and beyond.
“And we hope the electrification process itself – which is a huge investment – will bring significant numbers of jobs for local people and opportunities for local businesses.”
Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan was in Swansea on Monday as part of the official announcement.
She said: “Successive governments have failed to invest significantly in our railways. Today’s decision marks a significant change. I repeatedly said that the case for electrification to Swansea and the Valleys was unfinished business, and this announcement underlines my determination to ensure a modern efficient railway system in Wales which is fit for the 21st Century.”
She added: “Electrification in the Valleys is a major component to creating an integrated labour market within South Wales and potentially across the wider Severn-side economy.
“We need to create the right conditions for business in Wales to prosper and this investment sends out a clear message that Wales is open for business. It underlines the significant and positive opportunities for economic development in Wales which I have made in my regular discussions with the Transport Secretary.
“On St David’s Day last year, we announced a £1billion investment into the electrification of the Great Western Mainline from London to Cardiff and today’s investment will, I hope, bring a renewed sense of pride and confidence for the people of Wales in its infrastructure.
“Electrifying the rail line to Wales’ second city and to the South Wales Valleys will give people in these areas a chance to fulfil their potential by improving connectivity to labour markets and opening up prospects for jobs and investment. It means the valley communities can look forward to a bright and vibrant future
“Improved rail connectivity is a vital component for delivering a successful Welsh economy and we can now look forward to a modern and efficient rail system in Wales.”
The electrification announcement follows detailed discussions between the DfT, the Wales Office and the Welsh Government.Follow @CaerphillyObsvr