Council leader repeats opposition to any rail ‘downgrade’
30 April 2018
The Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Councillor Rob Jones, has repeated his strong opposition to any suggestion Neath Railway Station could be taken off the main Swansea to Paddington railway line.
The council leader has made it clear the suggestion has no support locally and that any downgrading of Neath Railway Station has been rejected by the Welsh Government.
Cllr Jones first voiced his opposition to any plan to demote Neath Railway Station in December last year at a meeting of business leaders in which a number of speakers from the Swansea Bay business community echoed his concerns.
Cllr Jones said after that meeting: “The Welsh Government has agreed to fund a feasibility study into transport across Swansea Bay which is expected to be submitted next year. We have no difficulty with this exercise, although the high level ideas put forward so far require a great deal more substance. However, I will not support any proposals to take Neath off the main line."
“That direct rail connection is vital to the town and the surrounding area. There will be no compromise on this, particularly as the Council has just announced the next phase of its plans for the regeneration of the town and the acquisition of the Crown Packaging site to create jobs in the town”.
Cllr Jones has now re-iterated his opposition to any plans to take Neath off the main line in the light of a petition which is being circulated in the town entitled: “Don’t take Neath off the main railway line”.
It is thought the petition springs from ideas from Professor Mark Barry of Cardiff University, calling for straightening of the railway lines between Cardiff and Swansea alongside an electrified Metro for the Swansea Bay City region.