Senedd Member for Ynys Môn, Rhun ap Iorwerth has welcomed Welsh Government’s decision to seek funding to build the case for reintroducing a passenger rail service across the island from Amlwch to Gaerwen, and on to Bangor. Mr ap Iorwerth says he’s pleased that the study proposed includes incorporating a multi-use path alongside, something he’s long advocated.
Responding to a letter from Mr ap Iorwerth seeking an update on the Government’s position, an official in the Transport Department confirmed that a formal request has been made to UK Government’s railways ‘ideas fund’ looking at how a rail service initially from Amlwch, through Llangefni, Gaerwen and Bangor, could eventually go on to Llandudno as part of the rail network.
“This is an important step forward, and it’s this kind of serious study that we need to consider the opportunities and challenges for this line.” Mr ap Iorwerth said.
“I particularly welcome the fact that the Government specifies the need to look at the options for active travel alongside the railway, and how to incorporate ‘Heritage Railway’ use, too. I’ve long been eager to bring together groups that have opposing visions for the line.
“At the same time, I’ve been corresponding with the local authority and others recently about various options that could be investigated for active travel paths. There are many opportunities on that front, but only one option on the island for developing rail as public transport.
“Professor Mark Barry of Cardiff University recently outlined how he saw potential for including the Amlwch line as part of expansion of rail across the north west.
“There has been significant underfunding of rail infrastructure in Wales over the years, with Wales getting less than 2% of rail improvement spending, despite having 11% of the tracks. We should be looking not only to improve the tracks we already have, but to expand the network, too.
“Here on Anglesey we have one of the few lines that was mothballed rather than dug up following Beeching-driven cuts. We have some funding set aside from UK Government for developing ideas, and we need to try to access that, as well as taking advantage of various active travel schemes, too.”
The Ynys Môn MS added:
“I’ve been invited by Welsh Government to add my support to the proposal by corresponding with UK Ministers, an opportunity I will most certainly be taking up. Various local interest groups would be asked their views, too, which is vital, of course – these are plans that can benefit the whole island in economic, social, transport and wellbeing terms.”