The Petitions Committee of the National Assembly met for the first time on July 4th to agree its own procedures and consider the first three petitions before it. They decided to meet fortnightly and to invite lead petitioners to give up to 15 minutes of oral evidence in support of their petition.
The Carno Station Re-opening petition was the third to be considered, after a petition against the closure of a nursing home in Port Talbot and one in favour of the completion of the Wales Children’s Hospital. The committee gave a favourable reception to the Carno petition, with Mike German and other committee members complimenting the action group on presenting a well-argued case. In her opening remarks, Chairman Val Lloyd alluded to a last minute submission – a photograph of the Talerddig loop and the glorious surrounding countryside – sent to illustrate Talerddig’s remoteness!
After discussion, the committee decided that the petition should be considered by a committee commanding appropriate expertise and referred it to the Economy and Transport Committee.
Carno Station Action Group Chairman Tony Burton commented: “This is an excellent outcome. The group now feels that its aspirations will be given proper consideration at last. Our only anxiety is that the Transport and Economics Committee might not meet to consider our petition in time to influence the passing loop pattern adopted for the Cambrian Line Hourly Service. This decision has to be taken imminently to dovetail with the implementation of the new signalling system – ERTMS. We want the passing loop to be at Carno rather than Talerddig so that trains can stop at Carno station without extending train journey times.”
Notes for editors:
- The background to the petition is summarised in a letter to the Head of Table Officer at the Assembly, Mr Gareth Thomas, the text of which is reproduced below.
- The Case for the Re-opening Carno Station can be downloaded from the CSAG website, http://www.carnostation.org.uk/.
Released July 5th, 2007
CARNO STATION ACTION GROUP LETTER TO THE HEAD OF TABLE OFFICER AT THE ASSEMBLY
Mr Gareth Rogers
Head of the Table Office
National Assembly for Wales
June 19th, 2007
Dear Mr Rogers,
Petition: Carno Station Re-opening
Thank you very much for your letter of June 15th formally acknowledging receipt of our petition and setting out what will happen next. I am very glad that you have already informed Dr Brian Gibbons, the relevant Government Minister.
Now that we have handed in our petition, I am uncomfortably aware that we have failed to make clear the thinking behind it, so I would like to put this right as soon as possible. The Welsh Assembly Government will soon be deciding on whether to fund significant changes to the infrastructure of the Cambrian line through Carno in order to make possible the introduction of an hourly service (the current service is every two hours). One of the passing loop patterns that has been recommended by Network Rail (in the GRIP 3 Option Selection Study) involves the relocation of the existing Talerddig passing loop at Carno, thereby saving expenditure on approximately 2 miles of double track at another passing place near Welshpool. Our petition is effectively asking for this passing loop pattern to be chosen by the Assembly, as it would enable a station to be opened at Carno without additional delay to trains and end the existing wasteful practice of stopping trains out in open countryside. At the moment, Carno is situated on the longest stretch of railway line in Wales (22 miles) without an intermediate station!
The Carno Station Action Group, which is a subcommittee of Carno Community Council, has prepared a detailed “Case for Re-opening Carno Station”, and a copy is attached. I would be grateful if you could place it before the Economy and Transport Committee. Committee members might also be interested to know of our website, which is at http://www.carnostation.org.uk/.
A key element of our case is that a new station at Carno could cost under £400,000 rather than the £2 m or £3 m that is often quoted. This is based on the station at Beauly near Inverness, which was opened in 2002 with a platform only 15 m long, and has operated successfully ever since. Given that rail travel is many times safer than travel by road, we believe it is important that sensible new schemes such as Carno Station are not rejected on cost grounds because of the imposition of unrealistically high standards.
It would be much appreciated if you could give us some idea of how soon the Committee is likely to consider the petition. This could be important, because we believe the WAG decision on the investment in the new infrastructure for the hourly service to be imminent.
Tony Burton, Chairman, Carno Station Action Group