Feasibility study for Bow Street station and transport hub

This is an English language version of an article published earlier in the excellent Welsh language news site Pobl Aberystwyth

There was dismay last month when it was announced that Ceredigion Council’s bid to the Welsh Government for £409,000 worth of funding for initial work into a new Bow Street station and transport hub, just north of Aberystwyth, had been turned down. I’d been chairing meetings of a group of Ceredigion councillors and others to make the case and had been hopeful of a better result. 

However, following further work behind the scenes, questions by Ceredigion AM Elin Jones in yesterday’s Assembly plenary session in Cardiff Bay brought the following response from Edwina Hart, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Economy, Science & Transport: 
“I have asked my officers now to initiate work on a feasibility study about Bow Street”. 

Those brief words mark a huge step forward in the campaign and supporters of the idea will now be keenly seeking more information about timescales. 

The idea behind a new Bow Street station is that, apart from serving the 2000 residents of the immediate village - and 1000 more in nearby Penrhyncoch - the site could become a transport hub to the whole area to the north of Aberystwyth.  

The intended setting is on the site of the old station, closed in June 1965, next to the intersection of A roads at the South end of the village. The University have firm plans to further develop their Gogerddan campus, just over half a mile away. Any promise of a new station, incorporating a pedestrian and cycle link to their site, would give those plans a big boost. 

By incorporating a Park & Ride car park alongside the station, such a hub could provide an option for those driving to Aberystwyth from the North to travel the last three miles by train or bus, avoiding the frequent early morning traffic queues on Penglais Hill and the stress of finding a parking spot in town. The obvious benefits to the town would make it worthwhile for the County Council to promote the kind of shuttle services that would make this option attractive.

With the commencement in May of a peak-time hourly service on the Cambrian Line and the recent announcement by the Minister of funding for an ‘options appraisal’ on a potential new Aberystwyth-Carmarthen rail line, the latest statement on Bow Street adds to the optimism being felt at the moment by all of us campaigning for improved rail services in Mid Wales.