The Ebbw Valley Railway (EVR) – a branch line of the Great Western Main Line – has had a significant regeneration impact in Blaenau Gwent, increasing connectivity and accessibility since its re-opening to passengers more than a decade ago.
EVR’s success was demonstrated with passenger usage numbers far exceeding initial estimates, and the planned new line extension to Abertillery including a park-and-ride facility for 100 vehicles, will further increase accessibility and connectivity for the Abertillery region.
The success of the EVR is supported with evidence from local employers who altered shift patterns for employees travelling by train, and has opened up new options for local residents in terms of employment opportunities and access to services and facilities, both within Blaenau Gwent and in the region.
The extension to Abertillery will increase these benefits further, and has the potential to increase footfall in the town centre and create retail growth.
Ellie Fry, Head of Regeneration for Blaenau Gwent, told Business News Wales:
“We worked with Welsh Government on an assessment which showed the mainline to Ebbw Vale gave many economic benefits, but if we put a project together with Abertillery, that would give us way more economic benefits.”
Key to the Abertillery line has been the Council’s purchase of land which will enable a new rail station to be built.
“We're hoping that the fact that we've completed design work and purchased the land, means that the Department for Transport will give us the funds to bring the line back into use.”
“People who want to get to Cardiff and Newport, and who travel to London will be able to make use of it. We're also developing industrial units around the valley, so we hope people who live further down the line are going to travel up to use these units.”