05/02/2015

The Aberystwyth to Carmarthen railway - two new supporters

For all of us campaigning for a new rail line between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen, there was a very encouraging interview with the Transport Minister Edwina Hart on The Wales Report last night. Here's some of what she said to BBC news presenter Huw Edwards:

Edwina Hart: "I have to say that rail in Wales is very important. We're not linked properly as a nation in Wales and I think this is a big issue for me. I would like, in an ideal world, to be able to get on the train in Swansea, go all the way round West Wales and come back down the East side."

Huw Edwards: "We'll all say Amen to that".

Edwina Hart: "But I think it's important to recognise you can take some steps on this. But, also, to take steps on this we have to be able to control the existing franchise. We need to look at what powers we need in the future. We need powers over Network Rail, because Network Rail decide what new lines come in.

"Well I've already been having discussions about the possibility of Carmarthen - Aberystwyth line reinstatement. And people say 'pie in the sky'. But I say 'no' - if you look at the way that other European countries look at the way they run rail, why shouldn't we be ambitious?

"So there's a lot of issues on the agenda. Not just the franchise - further devolution of powers. We need to have the powers the Scots are likely to get. And I think it's very important to recognise that it's about nation-building as well, in terms of the rail, not just about having a railway line and taking people back and fore to work. That is important - it's important for tourism - but it's also important that, as a nation, we have a proper rail network."

So now we have two more supporters of the campaign - the Transport Minister....and Huw Edwards.

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