2020! The dreadful pandemic has caused pain, distress and worse to many worldwide and here in our community. Apart from the health and financial damage it has caused it has simply slowed the progress of just about every project, – including the MAGOR campaign, although perhaps not as much as some?
We held our last formal meeting back in February, when we hosted guests from the Pontrilas Parkway Station Group and Cllr. Dyderski from Rogiet community council. At that meeting we discussed and agreed many ways we could lobby people with influence (including the Prime Minister) to support the building of Magor and Undy Walkway Station. We also agreed to maintain the progressing of applications to the ‘New Stations’ and ‘Reversing Beeching / Your Ideas ’ funds. Although there was considerable optimism evident at that meeting, none of us knew, even though we were just becoming aware of it, what impact COVID would have on our plans.
Pandemics or not, The MAGOR group, if nothing else, is persistent and determined and so carried on business using the now familiar ‘Zoom’ meetings with politicians, Monmouthshire County Council, Transport for Wales and others. The upshot of these interactions has been quite fruitful to say the least.
Over the months, as lockdowns and firebreaks came and went, various pieces of positive news emerged –
In July we learnt that we were one of only two schemes in Wales being considered in the ‘Reversing Beeching / Your Ideas’ fund
August saw the ‘Emerging Conclusions from the M4 cancellation’ report issued by the S.E. Wales Transport Commission (Chaired by Lord Burns) in which ‘Magor Station’ appeared to ‘tick many of the boxes’
Monmouthshire County Council released, in September, a study by Capita on traffic management in the event of a station at Magor
In October, Transport for Wales produced its ‘Mainline Railways Priority Schemes’ report in which the South Wales Mainline Corridor and Magor gets a strong mention
And finally, in November, the ‘Burns Report’ was published, recommending, amongst other things, a major upgrade to the South Wales mainline between ‘Cardiff and the River Severn’ and the building of a number of new stations, including Magor!
But things haven’t stopped there! In December, Jessica Morden MP arranged a ‘Zoom’ meeting between herself, MAGOR group, MCC and the representatives from Department for Transport who were overseeing the Restoring Your Railways Ideas fund applications. That meeting was extremely positive and is leading to a meeting between DfT, Transport for Wales, MCC and MAGOR, early in the new year to try and get a timeframe agreed for Magor & Undy Walkway.
As we have said for some time, ‘Magor’ is more a case of ‘when’ not ‘if’. We are now definitely in that position. We thank Jessica Morden MP, John Griffiths SM (and their support staff), councillors and officers of MCC, staff at Mott MacDonald and of course yourselves, the residents, for the help and support in bringing us to this point.
2021 will be one to look forward to in many ways as we say goodbye to the strange and eventful 2020.
Happy New Year everyone!