Railways boom in Scotland and WalesJune 10, 2008
A recent posting on this blog reflected enviously on the new high-speed inter-city express services being introduced in Spain, but you don’t have to look that far to find new high-quality commuter services opening up around the UK.
In Scotland, a brand new railway line has been built to serve Alloa, while in South Wales a disused freight line has been re-opened for passenger services in Ebbw Vale. Every station along the Ebbw Vale line has been built from scratch and equipped with CCTV, passenger information systems, help-points, and disabled access. Although most services are only 2-carriage trains the stations are long enough to cope with 4-carriage trains in future. And the line also enjoys a service 7 days a week.
The line was expected to attract 400,000 passengers a year, but with over 100,000 journeys made in the first 9 weeks it seems likely to exceed that target easily and plans are already afoot to extend services.
The development has been funded by the Welsh Assembly and just goes to show how successful rail services can be – and how much is possible when the political will exists.