Wales

'Walkway' rail station plan for Magor as M4 relief road scrapped

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Media caption"Not many people, unless they work from home, don't get in their car"

A village heavily affected by the decision to scrap the planned M4 relief road is bidding for help to build a £7m railway station there.

Residents of Magor in Monmouthshire have the mainline rail service to London running through the village, but no station.

They want to create a "walkway" station - one with no car parking that travellers will walk or cycle to.

The group is bidding for £75,000 from the Welsh Government to design plans.

Magor and neighbouring Undy had stations for 100 years before they were shut following the publication of Dr Richard Beeching's report of 1964.

Image copyright Geograph/BenBrooksbank
Image caption The old Magor station was on the main line from south Wales to London, the Midlands and England's south coast
Image copyright Geograph/Ben Brooksbank
Image caption The south Wales main line runs through the heart of Magor

Ted Hand, founder of the volunteer group behind the plan and a railwayman for 40 years, said: "It's the holistic answer to commuting.

"The walkway is the first of its kind in the UK and gets cars off the road, kind to the environment, it's integrated and such a good idea you could do it 100 years ago before Beeching."

Under the new South Wales Metro plan, Magor, which is just off the M4, has been designated as a location for a station.

If the group is successful in its application for planning funding, it could be the final funding hurdle before getting on the Department for Transport's new station list.

There is no car parking at the proposed station on the M4 corridor commuter belt, but it would be connected to local bus and cycle routes and, crucially, within 15 minutes walk of most of the 6,000 residents.

Image copyright Welsh Government
Image caption Magor is one of a number of new station proposals on the South Wales Metro plan

Newport East MP Jessica Morden, who backs the proposal, said the population of Magor was projected to rise to 10,000 within 10 years and the station would "benefit the many commuters in the village".

Now the M4 relief road has been scrapped, the Welsh Government has about £1bn to come up with congestion solutions, with UK government projections showing traffic on the M4 could rise by 38% over 30 years.

John Griffiths, the assembly member for the constituency, said he thought the walkway station at Magor should be at the top of the Welsh Government's to-do list.

"This a detailed and innovative prime example of a public transport quick win that, with other infrastructure improvements across south east Wales, can help the M4 traffic problem," he said.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "Both the first minister and economy minister made clear in their statements that the commission will seek to find innovative, affordable and sustainable solutions in the shortest possible timescales to the congestion problems on the M4 around Newport."

Image caption Nerys Corfield estimates her commute to the station would take three minutes on foot

Business consultant Nerys Corfield lives directly opposite the proposed site of the station and said she would use the station for commuting and leisure.

"I just think it will make everything much more accessible. I'll probably end up in the shops a bit more, just not having to think about getting in the car. It's really great," she said.

"My next-door neighbour drives over to Bristol every day and it's going to be huge difference to him."

As a commuter, she had hoped the M4 relief road would be approved but now thinks the station would be a good alternative.

"We're a huge commuter community here in Magor and Undy. Not many people don't get in their car or use the local transport options and this is going to be a really convenient local transport option."

But the man who drew up the South Wales Metro plan, Prof Mark Barry, said while he backs a station at Magor, it must be part of a a big-picture answer.

He said: "The whole of the south Wales mainline needs to be upgraded for faster line speeds and more capacity, then we can introduce new stations like Magor as part of a long-term, wider strategy."

Image caption Campaigners on the footbridge over the railway

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