HS2

25.06.18

£100m global centre of rail excellence plans in the works for Wales

 

A world-leading rail facility capable of testing current and future train technologies will be opened in Wales, the Welsh Government has announced.

Transport secretary Ken Skates unveiled the plans today to create the £100m ‘Global Centre of Rail Excellence,’ with potential for the site to be built near the unused opencast mine in Neath Port Talbot.

The facility would include accelerator, rolling stock and infrastructure testing, as well as storage, decommissioning, maintenance and servicing assets to the wider industry and supply-chain.

The news comes after KeolisAmey unveiled plans worth £1.9bn to upgrade the network earlier this month. The plans were followed by a deal between KeolisAmey and CAF to supply 77 locally made trains for the new Wales and Borders franchise.

Commenting on the news today, Skates said he wanted Wales to be recognised across the UK and Europe as a “major hub” and signalled a new approach for creating new opportunities for the Welsh economy.

The complex would be capable of testing trains on special tracks at speeds of up to 100mph.

Skates added: “From a standing start a few years ago, Wales is now developing as a home for our domestic rail industry.  There is more we can do. I want our country recognised across the UK and Europe as a major hub.

“Our Economic Action Plan signalled a new approach to creating opportunities for developing our economy. I’m now signalling the next chapter of implementation of that plan.”

The project will make an important contribution to the work of the Valleys Taskforce, providing good quality jobs and the skills to do them, Skates commented.

Councillor Rob Jones, leader of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, said: “This project demonstrates that we are determined to meet the challenge of regenerating and bringing new jobs to our communities in the Heads of the Valleys area. 

"There is further work to do; but this project is a clear statement of intent to deliver real change for the Valleys, creating good-quality jobs, closer to people’s homes and building upon the work that has been led by Alun Davies and the Welsh Government’s Valleys Taskforce as well as this council’s own team.

Councillor Rosemarie Harris, leader of Powys County Council, said: “The project demonstrates that rural Wales has strong role to play in driving the Welsh economy forward and that we are serious about turning the legacy of open cast mining sites into positive change for our communities which improves opportunities for employment and improving people’s skills."

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Image credit: KeolisAmey Wales

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