Monday, 16 July 2012

Electrification of Great Western

I feared that the Cardiff establishment would ensure that the Valley Lines would be electrified but that Aberavon, Neath and Swansea would be left out. But we are going to get both.

The GWR announcement has been greeted as good news for Swansea - and it is, not only for current businesses but also for new ones and for the university - but industry, in particular Tata Steel, at intermediate points along the line will also be winners.

The timescale seems right, as well: naturally following on from the work already started. Too often in the past, there has been a big government investment in infrastructure projects followed by a retreat, leading to a break-up of construction teams and a waste of expertise. The only thing that concerns me is the future of the "bi-mode" electro-diesel train-sets (image above) scheduled to replace the HS125s on the Swansea run. The contract for these was still not signed in March of this year. One hopes that there will be no further dithering,  because even after the electrification to Swansea there will be a need for them on to Llanelli, Carmarthen and Milford Haven.

All in all, a real triumph for the coalition government after years wasted under Labour.  Liberal Democrats have always advocated a better balance between road and rail investment, and it seems that LibDem Norman Baker, as a minister in the Department of Transport, has played his part in the electrification decisions.

1 comment:

Frank H Little said...

Our regional AM, Peter Black, has also welcomed the electrification of the Bridgend-Maesteg line. I would go further, and say that the opportunity should be taken of the new works to double the track at the same time. Increased capacity is sorely needed on this line not least because it is used by commuters to Cardiff, Wales' fastest growing city. And there must be restoration of the public transport link from Maesteg to Caerau, if not by restoring the railway line, then by reinstating the bus service.