Thursday, 28 November 2013

Another shortsighted rail "improvement" in Wales

I can do no better than quote Aled Roberts AM (from the Daily Post's report):

Mr Roberts said: “When the transport minister announced that she had agreed a £44m scheme with Network Rail and explained that it would improve north-south journey times and links with Wrexham , everyone assumed that she was backing the original Network Rail Scheme. 

 “But it now appears that the Welsh Government has cut the construction of a second rail track between Wrexham and Gresford from the plan to lay a second railway line to Chester. 

 “The effect of this U-turn is to reduce by half the number of trains that will be able to use the Wrexham to Chester line. The inevitable consequence will be congestion, especially when the new prison opens and generates an extra 1,000 passengers a week. 

 “It will also make it less likely that there will be direct services to the north-west of England. “Wrexham could be condemned to years of rail congestion and delays if the Welsh Government does not reverse this U-turn and adopt the original plan.” 

 He added: “Not only must we consider the rising number of passengers visiting the prison, there is also the issue of the increasing number of freight trains that are using this line, particularly to the Kronospan factory in Chirk. 

 “Today the business minister agreed to provide me with a statement as to the nature of the new Network Rail scheme. I also asked that the statement confirm whether an assessment has been made showing how the revisions to the Network Rail plan will affect rail passenger capacity at Wrexham and connectivity with London and Manchester.”

One is reminded of the decision to provide only a light-railway single line when Bridgend-Maesteg was reopened. Passenger volumes since have shown what a shortsighted decision this was.

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