“THE RAILWAY IS HERE – WHY NOT LET PEOPLE USE IT”
Members of the Carno Station Action Group, who are campaigning for the re-opening of Carno Station, are eagerly awaiting the publication of the draft Regional Transport Plan, which is expected to go out to public consultation in late September. The draft Plan is being prepared by TraCC, the Mid Wales Transport Consortium, and will include a detailed programme of schemes to be implemented in the 5 years to 2014.
Carno Station Action Group submitted their pioneering draft Carno Transport Appraisal to TraCC in July. It was drawn up following the Deputy First Minister’s recommendation last November that the Group should contribute to the development of a formal business case for the station through engagement with TraCC.
The appraisal investigated the costs and benefits of three options for improving access to train services for residents of Carno and the area to the West – re-opening Carno station, a shuttle minibus to Caersws station and the re-routing of the existing bus service via Caersws station. The principal benefits of the station option are savings in travel time, vehicle operating cost and road accidents, with an overall Benefit Cost Ratio of about 2.0, which is far better than that for the other options. The £1 million station cost estimate used in the Appraisal has since been confirmed by the costs reported for the new Mitcham Eastfields station opened in June, where two 8 car platforms, each about twice the length of the single platform required at Carno, cost £3.6 m.
Given the strong case made for Carno Station re-opening in the Appraisal, the Action Group is optimistic that Carno Station will be selected for inclusion in the Regional Transport Plan 5 year programme. Tony Burton, Chairman of the Group, said:
“The benefits of re-opening the station are pretty obvious to most people now. It would open up job opportunities for Carno residents without the need for long car commutes, assist the redevelopment of the moribund Laura Ashley site, facilitate shopping trips and journeys to hospital, revolutionise getting about for those without a car and encourage sustainable travel.
Clearly it would mesh with the aims of the Wales Spatial Plan and help fulfil one of the three themes of the Wales Transport Strategy “Connecting the Nation”, which is “to achieve greater use of the more sustainable and healthy forms of travel.”
Re-opening the station would chime with the mood of the times. As petrol prices rise and road congestion makes driving more frustrating, people are looking for an alternative. The railway is already here – why not let people use it?”