Almost two years ago, following a long fight by Carno Station Action Group, Carno was included in the list of 12 stations in Stage two of the Welsh Government Three Stage Assessment Process For New Stations (see this post for more details). The results of Stage two will define which of the 12 stations will proceed to Stage three – a full report on the financial and practical feasibility of each station.
At the time it was estimated by Ken Skates (Welsh Government Cabinet Minister for Economy and Transport) that Stage two would take approximately six months to complete – and since the summer of 2018 we have been asking Mr Skates at regular intervals when the results of Stage two are likely to be announced. Each time he was asked the reply was that the announcement was imminent, but even now (24 Aug 2019) there has still been no official announcement.
In July 2019 we met with Russell George AM who said he would ask Mr Skates once again why there has been no announcement and he said that he would apply to the National Assembly’s Research Service (Senedd Research) to see if they could find out any information. This week Russell received a document from Senedd Research titled “New rail station proposals and investment”, an extract of which reads:
The outcome of the Stage 2 appraisal process for new railway stations has been agreed by the Minister for Economy and Transport. The following stations have been prioritised for further assessment:
South East Wales: Ely Mill/Victoria Park
South West Wales: St Clears
North Wales: Deeside Industrial Park/Northern Gateway
Mid Wales: Carno
So it appears that the decisions on what stations will go through to Stage 3 has been made but for whatever reason Mr Skates has chosen not to make an official announcement. Russell will be asking why that is the case and trying to get timescales and details of what happens next. But in the meantime, eighteen months later than anticipated, it seems that the case for opening a station in Carno will now proceed to a full assessment in readiness for the next round of funding from the UK Government.
Carno Station Action Group Chairman Jeremy Barnes commented: “Whilst this information is extremely welcome and an important step forward, we still await official confirmation from Ken Skates. We trust that this confirmation will be made very soon and in the meantime we will be requesting an urgent meeting with his representatives to clarify the next steps of Stage 3.
We would like to thank Russell George AM for obtaining this information and look forward to his continuing involvement and support for our campaign.”