Funding agreed for £400M Wales rail electrification

Rail electrification works under way. Photo: Network Rail
Rail electrification works under way. Photo: Network Rail

Prime Minister David Cameron will announce a £230M funding package today to modernise rail lines across South Wales, ending a long drawn out dispute with the Welsh government over who would pay for the scheme.

 

Agreement has been reached between the two Governments whereby Westminster will contribute £125M to the Valley Lines electrification scheme and cover the full £105M costs of electrifying the Great Western mainline to Swansea.

 

The Welsh government will take over sponsorship and delivery of the Valley Lines project while contributing an estimated £170M towards its delivery. Work could start on Valley Lines electrification as early as 2019.

 

Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith said: “David Cameron has been doing the hokey cokey on funding the Welsh railways for over a year.

 

“First he claimed that he’d pay for the lot, including the full line to Swansea and commuter services to the Valleys, then he reneged on the deal and claimed Welsh Labour would have to pay instead and now he appears ready to split the tab.

 

“Welsh rail passengers will be pleased he’s finally made his mind up, even if in the end, the Welsh Government is going to have to foot some of the bill”.

 

Mr Cameron will also reveal plans to devolve the Wales and Borders rail franchise, so that the Welsh government decides the new franchise in 2018.

 

He said: “I am delighted to announce today that we are going to press ahead with the electrification of the Valley Lines. After years of neglect, this part of Wales will finally get the infrastructure it needs with faster, more modern, more efficient trains and the impact will be huge.”

 

Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb added: “This is fantastic news for Wales and provides a major incentive for businesses to invest in the country.”

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