Rail (UK)

Welsh rail plans

- Richard Clin­nick Head of News richard.clin­nick@bauer­me­dia.co.uk Business · British Politics · European Politics · Politics · Network Rail Route 18 · United Kingdom · Government of the United Kingdom · North Wales, Pennsylvania · Welsh Assembly Government · United Kingdom Department for Transport · Department for Transport · Swansea · East West Records · London · National Assembly for Wales · South Wales · Peter William Hendy · North Wales · Cardiff

Welsh Assem­bly un­veils South Wales scheme, but says lack of in­vest­ment has harmed prospects for rail im­prove­ments.

THE Welsh Assem­bly claims the coun­try’s rail net­work has suf­fered from un­der­in­vest­ment to the tune of £5.1 bil­lion and views the planned Union Con­nec­tiv­ity Re­view as an ideal way to en­able more in­vest­ment in Wales.

This Re­view, led by Net­work Rail Chair­man Sir Peter Hendy CBE, will ex­plore ways to im­prove con­nec­tiv­ity through­out the UK ( RAIL 916).

“The UK Gov­ern­ment has to demon­strate its sin­cer­ity to lev­el­ling up our coun­try, by ad­dress­ing their fail­ure to in­vest fairly in Wales’s rail, broad­band and avi­a­tion con­nec­tiv­ity. It has re­fused to de­volve th­ese pow­ers and fund­ing, while also fail­ing to take our con­nec­tiv­ity se­ri­ously,” said Ken Skates, Min­is­ter for Econ­omy, Trans­port and North Wales.

In a doc­u­ment show­ing its cal­cu­la­tions, the Welsh Gov­ern­ment ex­plained that us­ing the Bar­nett Con­se­quen­tial re­ceived in 2015 (£755 mil­lion, re­lated to an in­crease in the Depart­ment for Trans­port’s bud­get for the pe­riod to 2019), the to­tal UK Gov­ern­ment rail en­hance­ment spend in Wales from 2001-29 is around £2.2bn. It claimed to have spent (or to be com­mit­ted to spend­ing) some £1bn on rail it­self.

The state­ment added: “As a

com­para­tor, the ap­por­tion­ment of to­tal UK spend from 2001 to 2029 to en­hance­ments in Wales on the ba­sis of a pop­u­la­tion al­lo­ca­tion (~5%) would be ap­prox­i­mately £5.1bn, or on the ba­sis of route length (11%) £10.2bn.”

It did ac­knowl­edge that Con­trol Pe­riod 5 (2014-19) has been more ben­e­fi­cial due to the elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of the Great West­ern Main Line to Cardiff Cen­tral (al­though it was orig­i­nally due to reach Swansea).

How­ever, it added: “Pro­ject­ing known com­mit­ments for the pe­riod from 2019 to 2029, we es­ti­mate short­falls of be­tween £2.4bn and £5.1bn. This is based on £350m of UK Gov­ern­ment en­hance­ment in­vest­ment (in­clud­ing part of Core Val­ley Lines and Cardiff Cen­tral), com­pared with at least £50bn across the UK in to­tal.”

It also high­lighted that while en­hance­ment in­vest­ment com­mit­ted by UK Gov­ern­ment is es­ti­mated at around £102bn un­til March 2029 (in­clud­ing HS2, the Trans-Pen­nine Up­grade and East West Rail), for Wales it was £1.44bn with noth­ing planned for Con­trol Pe­riod 7 (April 2024-March 2029).

The doc­u­ment also claims that the in­dus­try’s fore­cast­ing ap­proach has sig­nif­i­cantly over­es­ti­mated de­mand for schemes in Lon­don by as much as 50%, while un­der­es­ti­mat­ing de­mand for else­where in the UK (in­clud­ing Wales) by the same fig­ure.

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 ?? RICHARD CLIN­NICK. ?? The Welsh Gov­ern­ment be­lieves rail in Wales has been un­der­funded by up to £5 bil­lion. Great West­ern Rail­way 158765 leads a class­mate at New­port on Jan­uary 30, bound for Cardiff Cen­tral.
RICHARD CLIN­NICK. The Welsh Gov­ern­ment be­lieves rail in Wales has been un­der­funded by up to £5 bil­lion. Great West­ern Rail­way 158765 leads a class­mate at New­port on Jan­uary 30, bound for Cardiff Cen­tral.

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