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Route study confirmed for Carmarthen to Aberystwyth re-opening

The Welsh government has agreed to fund a route study into reopening the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth line.

The proposed route would run through Pencader, Llanybydder, Lampeter and Tregaron and would cost at least £500m to construct.

The route study, which will cost £30,000, will assess whether there is a business case for reopening the line, with the results due in the autumn.

Traws Link Cymru, a group set up to campaign for the line's reopening, will work with the Welsh government to conduct the study.

The line was closed to passengers in 1965 due to floods and the ‘Beeching Axe’. The tracks were lifted in 1975.

Transport minister Edwina Hart AM confirmed news of the study in a letter to Ceredigion AM Elin Jones.

Hart said the initial study would “develop the scope, cost and work required to develop a business case for an optimum line of route” between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen.

“I have asked my officials to work with Traws Link Cymru on this initial study,” she added.

“I have also asked them to facilitate the production of the study through the appointment of independent transport consultants under a Welsh government framework contract."

(Image source: Ben Brooksbank)

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]


Mikeb   24/06/2015 at 17:50

I hope the Welsh Government will be negotiating with the Gwili Railway, who own approx 8 miles of this line between Abergwili Junction and Llanpumpsaint, for the operation of heritage steam services. They also want to purchase the line into Carmarthen itself and extend north towards Conwil.

Patrick Adams   25/06/2015 at 14:31

My understanding is that a new more direct route will be used between Carmarthen and Pencader. A new route into Aberystwyth itself will also be needed. The original Victorian line was designed for slow steam traction, where gradients were more of an obstacle than curves. Modern trains and construction methods should enable a modern railway with faster journeys. This should be an enormous boost to the economy of that part of Wales, if it ever happens.

Nigel Bird   30/06/2015 at 14:46

I am very involved with the campiagn group (find us on facebook Trawslinkcymru) Patrick Adams is quite right, we consider a more direct route avoiding the Gwili Railway is preferable as it will enable a much faster journey time from Aberystwyth to Carmarthen, less station stops but fully integrated with local bus services.West Wales is in urgent need of this line reopening to increase economic activity,assist commuters and students to access places of work and allow tourists to visit one of Wales's' most beautifull and unspoilt areas.

Tim   30/06/2015 at 15:26

I live in Machynlleth and am going on holiday to Cenarth near Cardigan in a few weeks. I hadn’t realised before just how poorly served west Wales is in terms of railway infrastructure – getting to Carmarthen, even (which is still quite a long way away), takes nearly 6 hours and involves a trip via England! The car journey is only 1.5 hours. I think I always assumed there was a coastal route beyond Aberystwyth. Hopefully this new study can make progress.

Brian Fidler   30/06/2015 at 17:30

Instead of wasting billions on HS2 the government should spend OUR money on re-opening lines like this, Didcot-Southampton, The Great Central from Aylesbury northwards and several lines in North Devon kilO

Patrick Adams   02/07/2015 at 06:05

There is a reasonable bus service from Aberystwyth to Carmarthen Tim, even so your journey from Mach will take 3 hours. I agree that the Great Central is a no brainer Brian, but before you call for more lines in North Devon, why not join North Devon Public Transport Users, in their campaign to make far better use of the existing line and link it to local buses?

Hannah   27/01/2016 at 12:02

I live right by this railway line, it runs through my property cutting it in two. No one has come to speak to me or my neighbours about the plans, we haven't been invited to any meetings, we've had no letters. I grew up on this line and in principle have no objections even though it will pass 20 yds from my door. I love the railway line and a reasonable service would be great. The railway shut because there were hardly any passengers, can this amount of money be justified? There are huge sections near Pencader that are missing or built on, bridges and tunnels and stream crossings will all need to be fixed. It seems so much money to spend!

Mike   05/08/2016 at 07:47

It would be great for me if the line came back through Dolgran as I live there and work in Carmarthen, right near the station. It could encourage the development of more businesses along its route, something that is desperately needed in this area of Wales.

Taff   18/10/2016 at 08:08

The reopening of the line from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth is the missing link .. There is such a good arument which could see comuter leisure tourism and employment generation pluss business case for the reinstating this long needed service. The line would pay for itself within 10years all one needs is to be openminded..

Richard Broackes Carter.   28/01/2017 at 12:56

I think that if the good people who have expended so much time and optimism in restoring the Gwili railway hadn't done what they have achieved that the idea of the whole line restoration wouldn't have occurred,the achievement of a good line speed is as much to do with the rolling stock deployed as well as permanent way quality,the Talgo principle has been greatly overlooked as being particularly suitable over twisty and graded routes to achieve competitive journey durations,I agree with your correspondent about HS2 particularly regarding the useless stations proposed at Toton and Birmingham Curzon not least as "classic compatible " trains are apparently planned as the initial rolling stock.Wales needs it.!

Malcolm Douglass   21/02/2017 at 13:15

The more railways we reopen the better and after Carmarthen to Aberystwyth it should be Afon Wen to Caernarvon and Bagor then we have a figure 8 which should enhance rail travel throughout Wales.

Jo Johnson   27/06/2017 at 00:15

In the light of the terms of the Conservative/DUP agreement, now might be a good time to start pushing for the means of realizing this project.

Tony Hopkins   07/08/2017 at 23:48

Although I am a lifelong railway enthusiast, to me it seems barely credible that £500m would be spent on reopening a railway through such a sparsely populated area, and where an hourly bus service already runs throughout the day on approximately the same route. Even this bus service seems generous given the small populations along the way. If the Welsh government has a spare half billion waiting to be spent on transport, I imagine that it could be used to much greater social benefit in other ways and other places in the Principality. What about supporting a fairly frequent direct express service between Aberystwyth and Cardiff, for example?

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