The Enterprise and Learning Committee of the National Assembly for Wales published their Report on the Petition to re-open Carno railway station on September 20th. They concluded that it would be difficult to justify the case for a new station at Carno on the estimated number of new passengers alone, but that “there may be a case linked to the wider objectives of supporting a rural community and encouraging the regeneration of an area that has suffered from the closure of the Laura Ashley factory and a resulting loss of local employment. A formal business case needs to be developed.” To view or download a PDF of the report, click HERE.
In recognition of the importance of a formal business case, the committee recommended that the Minister requests his officials to provide support to the Carno Station Action Group in developing and submitting one.
Carno Station Action Group chairman Tony Burton commented: “Overall this is an encouraging report. The committee has taken on board the opportunity for rural regeneration that the station would provide and concluded that our position on a stretch of line between Caersws and Machynlleth where there is no station for a distance of more than 20 miles adds considerable weight to our case. The committee’s recommendation that the Welsh Assembly Government Rail Team assists us to develop a formal business case speaks for itself and we are delighted at this outcome.”
Passing loop location
As far as the question of the passing loop location is concerned, the committee recognised that it was now too late to ask the Welsh Assembly Government to reconsider its decision to retain and enhance Talerddig, even though there may have been some operational benefits of locating the loop at Carno. However, on the positive side, they noted that the Head of the Welsh Assembly Government’s Rail Unit had told the committee that the design of the infrastructure enhancement project had been “future proofed” with some capacity built into it, including the possibility of locating a new station at Carno.
Tony Burton commented: “The Minister has already informed us that the choice of Talerddig as the loop location does not make the future development of a station at Carno less practicable or possible. For the avoidance of doubt, the committee has asked the Minister to confirm that, following completion of the infrastructure enhancement project, it would still be possible to accommodate a single platform station at Carno without compromising the performance or reliability of a future hourly service on the Cambrian Line. We very much welcome this.”
The report’s recommendations are reproduced below:
1. Welcomes the decision to proceed with the Cambrian Line infrastructure enhancement project and urges the Welsh Assembly Government to provide the necessary funding for an hourly service on the line as soon as possible after the infrastructure work has been completed.
2. Supports the view that safety must be a primary concern in the provision of any new railway infrastructure.
3. Asks the Minister to confirm that, following completion of the infrastructure enhancement project, it would still be possible to accommodate a single platform station at Carno without compromising the performance or reliability of a future hourly service on the Cambrian Line.
4. Asks that the Minister’s officials provide support to the Carno Station Action Group in developing and submitting a formal business case for such a station.
5. Considers that the position of Carno on a stretch of line between Caersws and Machynlleth where there is no station for a distance of more than 20 miles adds considerable weight to the case for a new station at this location.
6. Asks Network Rail to provide advice to the Carno Station Action Group on how such a station could be constructed to meet current HMRI standards.
7. Asks the Minister to publish general guidance on preparing business cases for the opening of new stations in Wales, including guidance on what the potential costs could be.
8. Asks the Minister to clarify the Assembly Government’s view of the future role of the Cambrian Line – as an inter-urban service or one that also serves rural communities in mid Wales.