We’ve got a GRIP! . . . .

I am pleased to announce that our main planned objective for 2015/16, the commissioning of a ‘GRIP stages 1 and 2 Study’ into the possibility of a ‘walkway’ railway station for Magor and Undy, is now underway.  We were able to progress this because Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) agreed to underwrite the cost but suddenly, in December, Welsh Government also provided the full funding!  Consequently, following a meeting between Network Rail, MCC, the MAGOR group and Mott MacDonald (the only company who had provided the quote for the work,) a ‘collaborative approach’ was agreed and the order was raised.  Mott MacDonald has now started the work.   

The GRIP reports (Guide to Rail Investment Process) will be produced over the next 2 months.  These 2 reports between them define the needs, opportunity and requirements and then, in the second report, defines the scope of the investment – identifying constraints, confirming that the outputs can be economically delivered and that they align with network strategy – i.e. potential solutions.

Assuming that the reports are favourable our objective for 2016/17 will be to commission a GRIP 3 study.  This would look at the options identified in the GRIP 2 report, address the constraints identified and then develops the most appropriate option into a single solution with confirmed economic viability.  Once done, we would be in a position to seek ‘approval in principal’.  But that and another 5 GRIP stages is for the future!

* * *

Our regular monthly meeting in January was well attended.  Mr Steve Richards of the RMT union (who recently affiliated to the MAGOR group) attended and reaffirmed RMT’s support for our aims.  Mr Sam Knight and Mr Murray Ross, local residents, also came along and participated in discussions.  Another resident, Mr Peter Blackaby, attended but whilst agreeing that in principle a station for Magor and Undy was, on the face of it a good idea, he was extremely concerned that it (as a walkway station) would introduce a major parking problem.  It was explained that the group had always understood that this could be an issue but firmly believed that with the right traffic management, the encouraged use of an improved Severn Tunnel Junction for those wishing to drive to a station and a ‘change of culture’ the potential problem could be avoided.  However the GRIP process would identify such matters as constraints and address them accordingly.  Mr Steve Richards suggested that MAGOR group look at Pye Corner station to see how a similar situation was managed.

***

Finally the MAGOR group has been exploring, with other parties, MCC’s wish to transfer the 3 Fields Site lease to a community-led ‘consortium’.  The community council is considering whether it wants to be part of such an association and as yet is still undecided.  MAGOR is very keen that a (long overdue) community centre is developed on the site but is also keen that any station built nearby benefits the centre and vice versa and therefore feel it necessary to be part of such a group.  Further information on this will be posted in due course.

MAGOR group would like to thank all people and parties mentioned in this and earlier postings for the help, advice and support in making 2015 such a positive and successful year.

Paul

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2 Responses to We’ve got a GRIP! . . . .

  1. Luq Ali says:

    Hi Paul,

    I’m new to Magor/Undy having recently relocated from Bristol. I have only visited the website for the first time this morning having spoken to a commuter on the train about the possibility of a station at Magor.

    I currently cycle to the severn tunnel station which is not ideal given the speeds at which road users travel down that A road. I am surprised there isn’t a pavement between Undy and Rogiet for pedestrians to use.

    I just wanted a breakdown in simple terms of what this recent development actually means and whether the construction of a train station in Magor has been commissioned.

    I would appreciate your assistance.

    Thank you

    • Paul Turner says:

      Hi Luq Ali,

      Many thanks for your enquiry. First of all, welcome to Magor with Undy! I am sure your will enjoy living in the community and enjoy the beautiful surrounding of Monmouthshire.

      Certainly the cycle journey to Severn Tunnel Junction (STJ) is not a particularly safe one, both on the B4245 and also the road approaching the station through Rogiet (especially at peak hours). Over 30% of the passengers that use Severn Tunnel Junction originate from Magor and Undy. This is one reason why we are campaigning to for our community to have its own station (it had 2 at one time but both were closed in the 1960’s). We want our station to be a ‘walkway’ station as the bulk of the population would be within a 10-15 minute walk or cycle ride of it and for STJ to be fully developed as a ‘parkway’ station for those who need to take their car to catch the train. This would mean they are complementary to each other and not in competition. There is much more on the rationale of our case elsewhere on the website.

      To come back to the main point of your question – Has a train station been commissioned? The straight answer is no. However we have been working closely with Monmouthshire County Council (we have 2 seats on its Strategic Transport Group) and have made huge progress in the last couple of years in turning it from a vague possibility into something now approaching a probability. We have commissioned the first of 2 of eight stages in the process to open a new station but this is only ‘options feasibility’ – this was funded by Welsh Government! You can see this project sits high in Monmouthshire’s Transport Improvement plan – . Incidentally, you will also see the planned cycle/foot path between Magor and Rogiet included in the priority list. Of course all plans are subject to funding and political will, both of which can change at any time.

      I hope you can take the time to study the website to gain a fuller impression of what we have achieved and also hope that you will be able to support us in our aims. Our committee meets every month but we welcome anyone to attend and have their input. Details of meetings are shown under the relevant section on the home page.

      Thanks again for contacting us.

      Paul

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