Keeping the pressure on . . .

The MAGOR group continues to keep the pressure on for an early delivery of Magor & Undy Walkway Station. Over the last month or so –

  • Ted Hand and Phil Inskip met with Julie James MS (Cabinet Secretary for Housing, Local Government and Planning), Christian Schmidt (MCC’s Transport Planning and Policy Manager), David McCullum (Strategic Development Programme Manager and Rail Lead – Transport for Wales) and others to discuss the co-joined ‘5 New Stations’ and the ‘Relief Line Upgrade’ project. Ted and Phil contended that ‘Magor’ could be a ‘quick win’ or an alternative ‘Plan B’ should the whole project prove to be unaffordable as one big development.   The meeting was informative and positive but, for now at least, it seems that the project is proceeding as ‘The lines and all 5 together’.  Phil, a retired Railway Manager, who’s knowledge, in my view, of the rail industry is encyclopaedic, has reservations on this approach and gives his view on why the ‘big plan’ might run up against the buffers (see below).
  • While we wait for the new station, Christian has informed us that bus timetables changed all over Monmouthshire on 1 April. While the changes for route X74 are minor, route 75 has now been extended from Caldicot to Magor (Redwick Road) via Severn Tunnel Junction, Pennyfarthing Lane, Acacia Avenue and Dancing Hill. The timetables are here for route 74and here for route 75, and Newport Bus have also a new network map here. The route 75, gives Magor and Undy residents another option to get to and from Severn Tunnel Junction, although it’s a shame that the first service of the day couldn’t have been earlier and the start time couldn’t have been on the hour to allow commuters a timely connection with the Bristol trains.
  • MAGOR, with its 12 years of campaigning, has formed a positive relationship with ‘TRACS’ (Towards Restoring a Caerleon Station) and has offered to help and advise in any way it can.  You can read more about TRACSs here.
  • Phil’s view on the problem with the ‘big plan’.
    • The South Wales Relief Line Upgrade project proposes matching the speeds on the Relief Lines (some as low as 40 mph) with the existing speeds on the Main Lines (up to 90 /100 mph). Of the proposed five new stations between Cardiff and Severn Tunnel Junction; Magor is the only one that could go ahead now without any of the upgrades. The concern is that the previous upgrade proposals relied on the financial savings of closing the main lines between nine and five Monday to Friday thus avoiding Overtime, Rest Day and Double time Sunday enhanced payments involved in weekend blockades. While that could be done today, once the new stations and additional trains are introduced, it looks as if the local stopping trains would have to be cancelled for more than six weeks of the year to make room for the long distance non stopping services diverted off the Main lines during planned engineering work. To date no reassurance has come from the railway that the services for Magor would not end up being cancelled for weeks to pay for the line upgrades or, worse still, that the Five New Stations Project would become unviable under these circumstances.

All for now.


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