The frequency of rail services on the line between Ebbw Vale and Newport is doubling to 30 trains a day as part of a Welsh Government £800m investment. Transport for Wales has started running new trains on the line, and a new scheme backed by a £70m Welsh Government loan to Blaenau Gwent council will pay for the extension of the passing loop between Crosskeys and Aberbeeg and the installation of a new platform and lifts at Newbridge and Llanhilleth stations.
Passenger services on the Ebbw Vale line were withdrawn in 1962 and started again in 2008, with Risca and Pontymister, Crosskeys, Newbridge, Llanhilleth and at a new park and ride site - Ebbw Vale Parkway. Following the initial re- opening in 2008 passenger growth exceeded all expectations with one million journeys made after the first 18 months of the new services, said Transport for Wales.
Unlike Scotland, Wales does not get an allocation of Treasury funding for rail infrastructure, with the UK Government resisting calls to devolve Welsh rail infrastructure. Despite this, the Welsh Government is funding rail infrastructure improvements.
Deputy Climate Change Minister Lee Waters said: “I’m so pleased the service between Ebbw Vale and Newport is finally in place. It has taken a long time and required a lot of investment but the doubling of the frequency of trains will make a difference to all the communities along the route. This would not have happened without the Welsh Government stepping in with investment.
“At a time when we are used to big infrastructure projects going over time and over budget we should applaud the fact this complicated project has been on time and within budget. My huge thanks to Blaenau Gwent council, Network Rail and Transport for Wales for working together to pull this off.”
John Morgan, Cabinet Member, Place and Regeneration and Economic Development at Blaenau Gwent Council said: “A more frequent rail service will no doubt improve opportunities for inward investment, access
to employment both within and outside of the local area and improves public transport for everyone in Blaenau Gwent. The new direct rail service to Newport will also makes it easier for those people looking to make connections as they travel to other destinations for leisure and business.”
Find out more about these and other developments at Rail Stations + Property 2024 on 5th March in London, organised by Landor LINKS, sponsored by Burges Salmon and supported by LTT.
The event will focus on: changing travel patterns, including the resurgence of leisure travel; stations as hubs, with a focus on mobility hubs; and transport-led development with a spotlight on major UK projects.
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