Latest Rail News

29.07.20

UK Government urged to collaborate on Global Centre of Rail Excellence

Welsh Government tell UK Government to be quick if they want to play a part in the delivery of the world leading project.

The Global Centre for Rail Excellence would generate a world leading facility for research, growth and testing of rail technology in South-West-Wales. Benefits of the centre would consist of cost savings to the UK rail sector, reducing disruption and enhancing benefits for passengers.

It would also bring an influx of jobs and economic development to the surrounding area, both in the construction phase and through the establishment of long-term high-quality jobs.

Facilities at the centre would include:

  • A 6.9km, 110mph Rolling Stock Test Oval, with overhead line electrification
  • A tunnel for high pressure testing
  • A 4.5km High Tonnage Infrastructure Test loop
  • A platform and station environment
  • Research and development, education and training facilities
  • Staff facilities and overnight accommodation

The planned 3-stage construction programme would see Phase 1 operational by 2023, and the site fully complete by 2025.

On the 27th and 28th of July Powys County council and Neath Port Talbot approved consent for the earthworks for the centre, to be built at the opencast mine at Nant Helen and the nearby coal washery site Onllywn.

This is a further step for the project after, earlier this month, the Welsh Government submitted the Outline Business Case for the Centre to the UK Government. The document sets out the delivery programme and the proposed next steps.

Ken Skates, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, commented: “This project goes hand in hand with improving the efficiency, performance and capacity of our railways. It has been developed following a clear need identified by the rail industry.

“There will also be important benefits for the communities that surround the planned facility. Jobs will be brought to the area and the project can be an important part of the long-term economic recovery from Covid-19.

“This has been a positive month for the project and the initial local approval is a positive step. Following this I now hope the UK Government will act at speed to play its part in delivering something that will benefit both Wales and the United Kingdom.”

Image: Welsh Government 

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