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Jenny Randerson - Rail electrification 'factory' should work on into the valleys

2009 Tachwedd 30 4:39 PM

Welsh Lib Dem Shadow Transport Minister, Jenny Randerson AM has today called for plans to be brought forward to electrify the Valley Lines network immediately following the electrification of the Great Western line. The calls come after officials from the UK Department of Transport told the Assembly's Enterprise and Learning Committee that "there is logic" that the Cardiff Area Network could be electrified once main line work reaches Cardiff. Jenny Randerson AM said: "It is clear that if we miss the opportunity to electrify the Valley Lines as part of the process of electrifying the main line, then this could be gone for decades. "Experts say that once the electrification 'factory' is shut down, it is hugely expensive and time consuming to re-start it. Therefore, if we are ever going to see the Valley Lines turned into a speedy, economically beneficial, metro service, then this could be our last chance for quite some time."

Notes: Excerpt from evidence by David Sexton, Development Manager, Franchise and High-level Output Specification Division, Department for Transport. Enterprise and Learning Committee, 18th November. A full transcript can be found here

Mr Sexton: There is a logic in looking at the Cardiff area network once electrification has reached Cardiff. You would not do it before electrification reached Cardiff, for two reasons. First of all, the Cardiff area network makes a lot of use of the south Wales main line and it is a complete network, it is not simply a north-south axis, it is east-west, along the south Wales main line. Secondly, the 30-year signal renewal that is going on takes away one of the major costs that might otherwise exist, because the new signals that are going in are completely compatible with the ability to electrify. Older railway signals are not necessarily compatible, and you often have to spend a lot of money immunising them. So, there is a potential point of convergence around the end of the next decade, when you will have electrification to Cardiff, a signalling system that could cope economically with it, the growth patterns coming together and the rolling stock getting to the end of its life.