South Wales Metro: Extending rail lines 'could boost valleys'

Train tour on a freight line between Aberdare and Hirwaun Image copyright Gareth James
Image caption A freight line is still in place between Aberdare and Hirwaun

Calls have been made to extend two railway lines in the south Wales valleys as part of the £738m South Wales Metro project.

Plaid Cymru councillors in Rhondda Cynon Taf want to see the Treherbert line extended to Tynewydd, and the Aberdare line extended to Hirwaun.

Members agreed to give the idea a closer look, after being told it would boost areas suffering from deprivation.

Transport for Wales (TfW) said it would consider extending lines in the future.

'Expectations raised'

The metro project promises more frequent services on existing networks, plus the introduction of trams and some new stations.

Councillor Karen Morgan, who represents Hirwaun, said the area had a huge potential for tourism related to its industrial heritage and opportunities for cycling and walking.

"It provides an opportunity for a major visitor offer but we are quite poorly served by public transport," she said.

"Time and time again residents' expectations have been raised. Residents were disappointed that the approved metro system did not include Hirwaun."

Geraint Davies, a councillor for Treherbert, said the metro presented an opportunity for a "significant boost" to the top end of the Rhondda Fawr valley.

Tynewydd was previously served by Blaenrhondda station, which closed in 1968, while Hirwaun was served by passenger trains until 1964.

A freight line used by coal trains until 2017 is still in place.

Council leader Andrew Morgan suggested the proposal be sent to a scrutiny committee, and said the authority was already looking at the idea of reopening and extending a disused line between Llantrisant and Cardiff.

A Transport for Wales spokesman told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "The plans that we've announced for the network are designed to be flexible and extendable.

"We're aware of a number of potential options for further rail routes, including extensions of the core valley lines.

"None of these are current committed requirements at this stage. However TfW and the Welsh Government will continue to consider options such as this as part of future development of the network."

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