Aberys­t­wyth to Cardiff

Rail (UK) - - Something To Say? -

I read with in­ter­est David Hen­shaw’s pos­i­tive views on the po­ten­tial to re­open the Car­marthen to Aberys­t­wyth line ( Open Ac­cess, RAIL 842).

My be­lief is that the present think­ing of con­nec­tiv­ity must not be oc­cluded by the ap­proach of many who as­sume the cri­te­ria used by Beech­ing/Marples et al still ap­plies. The days of the dread­ful ser­vice of­fer­ing - three trains a day tak­ing al­most three hours to travel be­tween Aberys­t­wyth only as far as Car­marthen - are long gone!

Aberys­t­wyth needs a fast and mod­ern link to the Welsh cap­i­tal, and thus any new ser­vice must en­able a 2hr 50-minute jour­ney time to and from Cardiff to be com­pet­i­tive and at­trac­tive.

While there is bound to be a wish to serve Swansea, this may need to be es­chewed in favour of a di­rect two-hourly ser­vice via Car­marthen and the Swansea Dis­trict line to Cardiff, achiev­ing sus­tain­able tim­ings.

Use of re­fur­bished Class 158 units to com­ple­ment those used on the ex­ist­ing ERTMS-sig­nalled Cam­brian route, to­gether with im­proved ac­cess to Machyn­l­leth and Cardiff Can­ton de­pots for pe­ri­odic main­te­nance, would make sense and re­duce cap­i­tal cost of stock pro­vi­sion.

It must be ac­knowl­edged that the sec­tion be­tween Car­marthen and Llan­pump­saint would be the most chal­leng­ing in civil en­gi­neer­ing terms to achieve the de­sired tim­ings, due to the to­pog­ra­phy of the Gwili val­ley. North of that point, via Strata Florida would en­able sim­i­lar speeds to those now achieved on the Shrews­bury route.

It is to be hoped that the ex­er­cise un­der­taken on be­half of the Welsh Gov­ern­ment by Mott McDon­ald will be ex­am­ined pos­i­tively by Trans­port for Wales, and take a sim­i­lar ap­proach to that for the Bor­ders route in Scot­land.

To re­store a vi­able and so­cially de­sir­able trans­port op­tion for Cardi­gan and Car­marthen­shire, to pro­vide that vi­tal pub­lic trans­port con­nec­tion from Aberys­t­wyth to Cardiff, must be the goal. David Mathew, Pe­narth

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