Neath Rail Mainline Not Under Threat – 30th April 2018

NEATH RAIL MAINLINE NOT UNDER THREAT – PLEASE SHARE

In recent days, Plaid Cymru activists have shared a petition online claiming that Neath Station is under threat of being taken off the mainline to London Paddington. This is not true.

The non-government proposal by Professor Mark Barry- reported in the news some months ago – that would take Neath station off the main line to London has no support locally and any suggestion of a downgrade to Neath station has been rejected by the Welsh Government. As AM for Neath, I have been consistently clear that we need better, integrated transport linking up the region. In response to the Mark Barry proposal, at the time, I said:

“Any plan for a regional transport network must keep Neath on the mainline to Cardiff and London. There are other ways of reducing journey times, and we should explore those rather than taking Neath, or indeed other stations, off the mainline – it’s about bringing our communities closer, not cutting them off.”

This view is supported by Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council.In January, Rob Jones, Welsh Labour Leader of NPTCBC wrote to the Welsh Government:

“I note that you are in receipt of evidence from Professor Mark Barry of Cardiff University, calling for straightening of the railway lines between Cardiff and Swansea alongside an electrified Metro for the Swansea Bay City region. My Authority however, does not support the proposition made by Professor Barry as the proposals will effectively turn Neath into a branch line.“

In March, the Welsh Labour Cabinet Secretary for the Economy & Transport, Ken Skates AM told the National Assembly:

“I think the local authority has been very clear in its position on Neath station. I’ve listened very carefully and I accept the argument that Neath station and, indeed, many other stations in the area shouldn’t just be protected but should be enhanced. I will look at any proposals within the metro vision that will deliver improved infrastructure across the entire network.”

So what is actually happening to improve local transport?

The Welsh Government wants an integrated transport system that links up the whole region. It has funded its own feasibility study to work out how the communities in Neath and the Swansea Valley can have better, reliable and more convenient transport links across the Swansea Bay City Region. As I have outlined, this cannot be at the expense of Neath station.This work is ongoing and will report back later this year with an outline plan for a Swansea Bay City Region Metro system.

This follows the campaign that I have led through the Neath Area Economic Forum for a fully integrated public transport system and a new deal for bus users. You can find out more about that work here: http://www.jeremymiles.cymru/…/jobs-and-the-economy-a-thri…/

People who are signing the petition are obviously concerned about Neath station, however, I would like to reassure those concerned that I continue to fight for improved services and will not support any moves that would cut them back.