Train in service in North Wales

The £2.4bn underinvestment in Welsh rail the UK must address

Calls have been raised to use the recently-announced ‘Union Connectivity Review’ as an opportunity to address what the Welsh Government have conservatively estimated as a £2.4bn underfunding of the Welsh railways.

Ken Skates, the Welsh Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales said the report represented an opportunity to “put right” the UK Government’s approach to Welsh railways.

Launched by the UK Government, the ‘Union Connectivity Review’ is set to explore ways to improve connectivity between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

It was important the review also respected the current devolution settlement and did not stray into matters which were outside of the responsibility of the Welsh Government, the Minister explained.

Where this red line on devolved responsibilities sits was outlined alongside ministerial counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The underfunding estimates raised by the Welsh Government – the document setting out the calculations for which has now been published – conservatively estimates underinvestment into Welsh railways from 2001-2029 sits at £2.4bn.

The true figure, it notes, could be as high as £5.1bn.

Mr Skates said: “The UK Government has to demonstrate its sincerity to levelling up our country by addressing their failure to invest fairly in Wales’s rail, broadband and aviation connectivity.

“It has refused to devolve these powers and funding, whilst also failing to take our connectivity seriously.

“The Union Connectivity Review is an opportunity for the UK Government to reflect on historic underinvestment and to focus on putting things right.”

Last week, the Welsh government published Llwybr Newydd, a new draft transport strategy pledging a major reduction in carbon emissions from the Welsh transport sector.

As part of the draft strategy, it incorporated a new sustainable transport hierarchy which would prioritise public transport over roads. Encouraging more people to move from personal use vehicles onto buses, trains and sustainable forms of travel is a key driving point for the Welsh Government’s transport vision going forward.



Where next for Metrolink?

Our June/July 2021 edition of RTM covers all different aspects of the rail industry, from embedding environmental initiatives across rail projects, to innovative work being done to encourage collaboration between HS2 and academia, and a focus on the future of light rail around the UK, including what is next for Greater Manchester’s Metrolink network.


View all videos
Passenger Experience Event Banner

RTM365 Online Festival

The Era of Passenger Experience
18th August 2021

 On 18th August, RTM365 will host their Passenger Experience virtual event which will explore the plans to implement the changes affecting passenger experience laid out in the recent Williams Shapps review, the challenges that we need to overcome, opportunities for the supply chain and what we envisage the future of the passenger to be.


The Green Rail Revolution

Maria Machancoses, Director of Midlands Connect discusses the importance of HS2 to the Midlands and the UK, their collaborative work with the Department for Transport, and how we need to embrace the railways again.

More articles...

View all