After months of speculation that the UK Government have been preparing the ground for an announcement to cancel the project it has now been confirmed that the mainline from Cardiff to Swansea will not be electrified as was originally planned. This is a devastating blow for the Welsh economy and, in particular, the city of Swansea and the wider economy of west Wales.
CECA Wales Director, Ed Evans, said
“There has been much speculation within the industry for some time that the UK Government have been preparing the ground to cancel their plans for electrification of the mainline to Swansea. It is now clear that Wales will lose out, probably, as a result of overspending by Network Rail on other sections of the electrification project from Paddington and other priorities for the UK Government. This is made all the more disappointing as it coincides with the UK Government setting out its commitment to the HS2 project in England. Wales continues to receive minimal spending on its rail network by the UK Government receiving less than 1% of Network Rail’s recent enhancement expenditure despite having 6% of the railway lines and much of it in a poor condition due to this lack of investment.”
“Although the UK Government are stressing that there will be new trains on the network these will not deliver on the promises of a greener and more efficient service. Once again service users in Wales and the wider Welsh economy are being short-changed.”
“Before the General Election CECA Wales warned that an incoming UK Government should stop dithering and commit to the projects outlined in the UK Infrastructure Delivery Plan which impact on Wales. These included electrification of the mainline to Swansea, which has now been cancelled, and the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, which, also worryingly looks to be at risk.”