A campaign group calling for the reintroduction of the Aberystwyth to Carmarthen railway line has launched a fundraising bid. Traws Link Cymru wants to raise £5,000 to move plans forward and put more pressure on authorities to reinstate the line, along with a line between Afon Wen and Bangor, closed during the Beeching cuts of the 1960s.
The Aberystwyth to Carmarthen project, which would cost hundreds of millions of pounds, has been mooted as part of a Welsh Government rail strategy, but no concrete plans to move the scheme forward have been set out. Traws Link Cymru, formed in 2013, said the improved rail corridor would “realise the potential of the region”.
“The current road system is inadequate for the region’s needs, and while the existing railway links eastwards from Bangor and Aberystwyth, and east and west from Carmarthen, are both well-used, they do little to improve regional connectivity,” the group said. “New railway lines between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen and Afon Wen and Bangor could provide the stimulus needed to kick-start economic and social regeneration throughout the region. Moreover, a railway line running from Bangor in the north to Carmarthen in the south would not only provide an important transport link between industrial South Wales and the rural north, but it would also bind the country together to produce a more integrated Wales. As such, these new railway lines would have considerable strategic and political significance.”
The group argues that has “considerable potential in terms of tourism and agriculture”; “an employment pool that could service a wide range of small and medium-scale industries”; three university campuses and several linked colleges of further education on seven campuses; the National Library of Wales; the headquarters of S4C; and a “rich and diverse cultural history” that would benefit from increased transport links.
A 2018 feasibility study into the reopening of the line found that it was “a realistic prospect”, but cost estimates reached £620m - with no form of funding identified to move the project forward.
Campaigners have called for the return of the railway for more than a decade. The scheme was included in the Welsh Government’s rail strategy document ‘A Railway for Wales - Meeting the needs of future generations’, in which it said that it wants to ‘improve connectivity on the nation’s key corridors – especially the western corridor from Ynys Môn to Aberystwyth, Carmarthen and Swansea Bay’.
The fundraising page is at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/trawslinkcymru2