Wednesday 7 Jul 2004

WORK BEGINS TO BRING PASSENGER SERVICES BACK TO THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN

Region & Route:
| Wales & Western: Wales & Borders
| Wales & Western
Today sees the official start to work to restore passenger services to the Vale of Glamorgan – for the first time since the early 1960s – officially started today.  The project includes building new stations at Llanwit Major and Rhoose, together with a new platform and track at Bridgend.  Network Rail’s Chief Executive, John Armitt, and the Welsh Assembly’s Minister for Economic Development and Transport, Andrew Davies, performed a choreographed sod-cutting ceremony in two JCB diggers, directed by Strategic Rail Authority Chairman and Chief Executive Richard Bowker.  Also in attendance were Members of the Welsh Assembly Government, Network Rail officials, representatives from the Contractors and Arriva Trains Wales, local Government and MPs, the Rail Passenger Committee Wales, Cardiff Bus and Airport, the Strategic Rail Authority and the British Transport Police. John Armitt, said: “What has been achieved today is the result of a ‘can do attitude’ amongst all the key players in the rail industry and the Welsh National Assembly; it is a shining example of how industry and community partners can work together.  I am looking forward to the celebration next year when the first train operates. “ The construction work will costs approximately in the region of £17 million, funded by the Welsh National Assembly, with the contracts managed by Network Rail.  The Strategic Rail Authority is providing £5.4 million in additional funding over three years to enable the new train service to operate.  The new passenger service, opening in Spring 2005,  will be operated by Arriva Trains Wales. More follows / ….. Glamorgan 2 Strategic Rail Authority Chairman, Richard Bowker, saids: “The railway is carrying more and more passengers each year, with a billion journeys taking place last year.  This re-opened route will help continue that trend, bringing real benefits for South Wales.” Additional signalling will also be provided to increase the capacity of the route and the track will be upgraded to allow trains to travel at higher speeds than the existing track allows.  Safety work will also be undertaken to upgrade public foot crossings along the route. Also in attendance at the ceremony were: constituency MPs Win Griffiths and John Smith; local councillors; and representatives from the Rail Passengers’ Committee Wales, Cardiff Bus and Airport and the British Transport Police.  The restoration of services to the Vale of Glamorgan will also provide a vital link to Cardiff International Airport.  Cardiff International Airport Managing Director, Jon Horne, said: "The opening of the rail link means our passengers and staff will have a choice in how they get to and from the airport, which will appeal to a whole new audience, many of whom will be beyond Wales and our traditional catchment area.  This will increase the attractiveness of the airport to airlines, which means improved prospects for new routes developing for the benefit of Cardiff and Wales as a whole."               Peter Strachan, Managing Director for Arriva Trains Wales, said: “We look forward to the re-opening of the line, which will offer many more exciting journey opportunities to our customers, while providing a valuable transport link to the communities of the Vale of Glamorgan and, in particular, the International Airport at Rhoose.”

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