- AT our Annual General Meeting, on the 13th July, our Chairman, Laurence Hando reflected on what had been a very positive year and the advances the Group had made towards achieving the aspiration of opening a station to serve Magor and Undy. Laurence thanked the group members for their hard work and the dedication that they had shown over the year. I gave a summary of the progress made with our GRIP studies. You can read the full record of the AGM here.
- ON 18th July, Ted Hand, along with Christian Schmidt of MCC, met Karen Williams of Network Rail (NR). Karen is now our scheme sponsor at NR and will help make sure the final GRIP 3 report that is being produced by Mott MacDonald, meets both Network Rail’s and Welsh Government’s requirements. The meeting was very productive!
- ON 19th July, I attended Monmouthshire County Council’s Strategic Transport Group. I was re-elected as Vice Chairman of the group but more importantly there was an excellent presentation on ‘The Metro’ and ‘The City Deal’ given by representatives of Welsh Government and Transport for Wales. The presentations were most informative but it also gave the group the opportunity to put some questions to the people who knew the current status of the £1.2 billion City Deal project (£734 million for the Metro). A number of members made the point that the South Wales rail corridor was seemingly taking second place to the valley’s services and critical issues were not being taken on board. Phil Inskip, a member of MAGOR, made the following mind-blowing points –
- that passenger numbers at Severn Tunnel Junction had grown by around 100% over 10 years (compared to 10% generally),
- the average fare cost per mile was twice as expensive (e.g. between Chepstow and Cardiff) compared to the valleys
- the service frequency on the valley lines was twice as good!
I took the opportunity to remind the officials that MAGOR station had progressed further in terms of ‘GRIP’ and a business case compared to most of the ’12 announced possible new stations’ and that the minister had recognised this but his staff seemed less aware. I requested that they reminded their peers and colleagues of this fact. The overall Metro project is planned to be implemented by 2022.
- AS reported previously, and at the AGM, MAGOR has representation on the Magor and Undy Community Hub (MUCH) project (the new community centre). Real progress is being made on that now as MCC have allocated funding for some initial work, including the appointment of an architect and earmarked a large sum of money from the Rockfield Farm development towards the centre and the station. MUCH now has an active website magorandundyhub.co.uk which provides all the details and is well worth a look.
That’s it for this month. I’ll do another update at the end of August. In the meantime can I wish everyone a very happy summer!