Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Electrification decision a step forward but disappointing for Swansea and South West Wales

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black, has expressed his disappointment that today’s announcement on the electrifying the main line from South Wales to Swansea has stopped short at Cardiff.

Mr. Black was commenting on the statement by the Transport Minister this afternoon that he was proposing to invest in electrifying the Great Western mainline from London to Cardiff and in new trains to run from London to Swansea.

“There is no doubt that even though electrification will not continue all the way to Swansea, passengers travelling to and from the city, Neath, Port Talbot and Bridgend will gain from new rolling stock and faster journey times,” said Mr. Black. “However, it remains a disappointment that we will not be benefiting from the full electrification project. This decision sends the wrong message to business investors about the South West Wales economy.

“Nevertheless, this is still a significant step forward from the position left by the previous Labour Government. Gordon Brown announced an electrification project in 2009, saying that work would start immediately but nothing happened. Not only did Labour fail to put aside any money to pay for the project, they had not carried out the detailed technical work needed.

“This does not mean that this is the end of the matter. Heavy lobbying by the Welsh Liberal Democrats in particular, delivered a far more favourable statement than was expected. The government has left open the prospect of further electrification to Swansea and I welcome that. We will be using that opening to continue to campaign for that outcome.”
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