Posted: Thu 29th Jun 2023

Petition calls for reopening of railway line between Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion /
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jun 29th, 2023

A petition calling for the re-opening of a railway line which would stop Pembrokeshire people having to travel to England to visit their neighbouring county has gained 6,000 signatures in just a few days. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Currently, a rail journey from Pembrokeshire to Ceredigion faces a journey of hundreds of miles through England, rather than a trip of 70 miles or less by road. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Currently anyone wanting to travel solely by rail county-county faces an arduous journey through south Wales, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Powys. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

While Pembroke Dock in the south of the county and the university town of Aberystwyth are just over 70 miles apart, the rail journey is estimated at more than 300. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

It didn’t used to be that way; a line linking nearby Carmarthen and Aberystwyth existed up until the 1960s when it was a victim of the infamous Beeching cuts in February 1965. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Since then, there have been repeated calls to reopen the line, at a predicted cost of some £800m; but Ceredigion councillors recently heard any reopening of the line was unlikely to take place for decades. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A Senedd Cymru petition is now calling for for the reopening of the Bangor – Afon-wen and Aberystwyth to Carmarthen lines, integrating them with the Cambrian railway, and the line from Carmarthen on to Cardiff. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The petition comes just weeks after a Ceredigion council committee – meeting earlier this month –  heard the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen line was unlikely to reopen for 30 or 40 years. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Re-opening the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen rail line has long been a call shared by many, including both members of Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Liberal Democrats locally. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The line originally closed in February 1965; predicted costs for its re-opening are as high as £800 million, with quotes of £1bn even bandied. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Back in 2020, West Wales Rail Campaign group Traws Link Cymru published a report with new research into the reopening of the Aberystwyth to Carmarthen railway, which broadly confirmed the findings of an initial scoping study of 2015, notably that 97 percent of the original trackbed was clear and that reopening was a realistic prospect. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Since then, any hopes of reopening the line appear to be many years away, members of Ceredigion County Council’s Thriving Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee heard earlier this month. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Members, discussing potential use of the old line, heard that, despite “an aspiration to improve the railway links between Carmarthenshire and Aberystwyth,” the proposals were likely to take many years, effectively allowing any alternative use to enjoy a long usage. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Professor Stuart Cole CBE asked if there was any definitive answer from Welsh Government on whether the scheme would go ahead any time soon, estimating there was “no chance at all” of it reopening in “the next 40 years”. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

That long-term position on the railway link was again emphasised at today’s full meeting of Ceredigion County Council, with several members raising the issue during a wider debate on public transport. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Councillors raised the need for supporting bus services in the short-term, with the hoped-for line replacement a longer-term prospect; ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Councillor Alun Williams highlighting Ceredigion’s contribution – the highest number of signatures from one area – to the petition. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Spotted something? Got a story? Email News@News.Wales

More from Ceredigion Council

Application Submitted for Four Affordable Homes in Cardigan for Same Family

Ceredigion Council

Self-Serve Meat Vending Machine Planned for Ceredigion Livestock Mart Site

Ceredigion Council

Plans to Site Solar Panels on ‘Best Hotel in Wales’ Refused

Ceredigion Council

Submission of Bespoke ‘Upper-Class’ Wedding Building Application for 19th Century Ceredigion Country House

Ceredigion Council

New Office Building Plans Refused in Ceredigion Due to Impact on Neighbours

Ceredigion Council

Application Submitted for Self-Serve Meat Vending Machine Building at Ceredigion Livestock Mart Site

Ceredigion Council

Latest from News.Wales

Public Consultation Launched for ‘No-Gas’ Housing Development Near Maesteg

Bridgend Council

Opponents of Proposed “Super-Estate” in Wrexham Call for Public Meeting

Wrexham Council

Disused Newport leisure centre deemed safe by council officials

Newport Council

Plans Revealed for Fourth Phase of Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route

Rhondda Council

Fear of Diluted Local Voice in Vale of Glamorgan Community Council Changes

Vale of Glamorgan Council

Smallest School in Rhondda Cynon Taf to Close Despite Strong Opposition

Rhondda Council