Railwatch is the quarterly magazine of Railfuture, which is free to members.
Non-members can subscribe to Railwatch, receiving it by post.Subscribe
Plans to reopen the Vale of Glamorgan line between Barry and Llantwit Major in South Wales have been thrown into doubt by rail privatisation.
The scheme to provide a 90 minute interval service (60 minute at peak times) as an extension of the Cardiff Valleys network had been included in the Vale of Glamorgan Borough Councils Transport Policies and Programme. The Welsh Office was expected to provide funding.
Trains would travel beyond Barry, calling at three new stations: Rhoose (for Cardiff Wales Airport), Gileston for St Athan and Llantwit Major.
However, predicted Railtrack access charges have pushed the projected revenue support that would be needed from £210,000 to £330,000 per year. The council has decided that this level of revenue support is not sustainable and has deferred plans to re-open the line for at least a year.
Vale of Glamorgan Tory MP Walter Sweeney - who with a majority of 19 is the most vulnerable MP in the UK - has written to us expressing support for the scheme, but doubting that privatisation is causing any difficulties!
We have proposed an alternative service pattern involving diverting South Wales and the West Trains. The two-hourly AlphaLine service from West Wales to Portsmouth, Brighton or Manchester could go via the Vale of Glamorgan Line between Bridgend and Cardiff.
This would put Barry on the regional network and give a much more attractive service to business people using the airport.
However, we have learned that under an anti-competitive clause Cardiff Rail will have exclusive passenger rights to stations (except Cardiff Central) on the Valleys Lines network.
AlphaLine trains would not be allowed to stop at stations between Barry and Grangetown, inclusive. This is bizarre from a government whose watchword is supposedly competition. Not surprisingly, without the possibility of calling at Barry, South Wales and the West are not very interested in running services here.
Here is a reopening where almost all the hurdles had been overcome.
If this scheme, which was so close to becoming a reality before privatisation, can be so easily scuppered, what hope is there for all the other potential re-opening schemes across the UK?
Note: contact details (postal and email addresses, along with telephone numbers) in old editions of Railwatch out of date. Click CONTACT US for latest contact details.
Rail users are encouraged to join Railfuture to help us campaign for a bigger and better railway - membership for individuals is just £20 per year
Railfuture is an independent, voluntary group representing rail users in Britain with 20,000 affiliated and individual members. It is not funded by train companies, political parties or trade unions, and all members have an equal say.
Railfuture campaigns for cheap and convenient rail services for everyone; better links for buses, bikes and pedestrians; policies to get more heavy lorries on to rail; new lines, stations and freight terminals. In short, a better rail service and a bigger rail system for both passengers and freight.
Railfuture is pro-rail but not anti-road or anti-air. However, we campaign for a switch from road and air to rail. We do not interfere in the running of the railway - we campaign for the quality and range of services provided, not how they are delivered. We are the only champion of all rail users.
Railfuture is the campaigning name of Railfuture Ltd.
A not-for-profit Company Limited by Guarantee.
Registered in England and Wales No. 05011634.
Registered Office: Edinburgh House, 1-5 Bellevue Road, Clevedon, North Somerset BS21 7NP (for legal correspondence only).
All other correspondence to 14 Ghent Field Circle, Thurston, Suffolk IP31 3UP
© Copyright Railfuture Ltd 2022.
Railfuture is happy for extracts to be used by journalists, researchers and students. We would, however, appreciate a mention of Railfuture in any article, website or programme. Except with Railfuture's express written permission, no one should distribute or commercially exploit the content.
Privacy StatementClick Privacy to read Railfuture's GDPR statement on how we treat your data.
This site does not use its own cookies, although Google Analytics does. The site is maintained for Railfuture by Billing Specialists Ltd.