Wales

Calls for cycle track on Gwendraeth Valley Railway line

The old line at Pontyberem with the village hall in the background
Image caption Some of the line is used as a footpath, as it is here in Pontyberem

An abandoned 19th Century railway, which was used to transport coal, could be turned into a cycle track.

The Burry Port and Gwendraeth Valley Railway line stretched for 21 miles across Carmarthenshire, from Llanelli to the Cwm Mawr colliery.

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for the creation of the Gwendraeth Valley Cycle Track.

The line closed to passengers in 1953 and gradually to goods during the 1980s as the coal industry disappeared.

The online petition calls on Carmarthenshire County Council, the Welsh Government, the Gwendraeth Valley Railways Society and Network Rail to do a feasibility study on adapting the old railway line to create the cycle track.

Physical and mental wellbeing

Pontyberem councillor Liam Bowen said there was an opportunity to "use our history and revamp it for the next generation".

"It's going to be a big investment, but we see this as the perfect opportunity to invest in our physical and mental wellbeing, and in our local economy," he said.

Image caption Neil Maliphant with his wife Laura and daughters Efa and Ayla

Keen cyclist Neil Maliphant, who lives in the area with his wife Laura and daughters Efa and Ayla, said: "We have a perfectly flat railway system and it is ready to be developed in my eyes.

"It is overgrown and a lot of it is being used as a narrow footpath, but it's not possible to cycle at the moment. This would be the missing link to network the entire infrastructure there already."

Councillor Hazel Evans, executive board member for environment at Carmarthenshire County Council, said: "The proposed Gwendraeth route sits on our Active Travel Integrated Network Map which anyone can see and make comment on as part of a consultation we are currently running.

"We have submitted a bid to the Welsh Government for Active Travel funding, and subject to the outcome we would look to fund some further project feasibility."

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