Lightweight trains could be key for Aberystwyth to Carmarthen rail line

By Chris Betteley in Transport

A TRIAL of lightweight trains could help see campaigners’ vision of re-opening a long-disused rail line between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen become a reality.

As campaigners met with the Transport Minister at the Senedd last week, a £4m trial set to start next year using cheaper trains could lead to the re-opening of several lines axed by Beeching in the 1960s.

Among them was the line between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen, and a campaign to re-open the line has been gathering pace for several years.

While industry experts say the cost of reinstalling and re-opening the line would be prohibitively high at around £750m, there is hope that the new system could cut costs.

The Times reported the “very light rail” project, funded by the Rail and Safety Standards Borad and the Department for Transport, would mean that rural, loss-making lines could be brought back because the new system is cheap and does not damage tracks in the way conventional carriages do.

Nick Mallinson, of the manufacturing group behind the project, said: “Lots of lines that Beeching closed could benefit from this.

“A lot of local councils are saying they want to re-open them.”

A meeting between campaigners from the Traws Link group and transport secretary Ken Skates was arranged by Ceredigion AM Elin Jones last Wednesday after a £300,000 feasibility study into the line was secured as part of the budget negotiations between Plaid Cymru and Labour.

See this week’s south editions for the full story, in shops and online now

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