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Prosperity on the line; COMMENT & DEBATE.

* SIR - It's good to see the Government recognises that the Valleys lines should be electrified.

In recent years demand has gone through the carriage roof. The millionth passenger arrived on the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff line in half the projected time, after the line had only been opened for just under two years.

However, your report misses an important issue, namely it is not clear that the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff line is included in the Government's plans for electrification.

I've already met the Transport Minister to shout the odds for inclusion of the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff line. But because it is only an hourly service, the number crunchers are not sure the business case is strong enough.

So the challenges are firstly to emphasise the transport and economic importance of the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff line electrification and secondly to stress to the Welsh Government the importance of enhancements to our line.

Both of these are tricky and challenging campaigns to win over the coming months. I'll be working with passengers using the route at the moment to gain support for improvements and electrification. And I'll be making the case with decision makers to get the best possible deal for Blaenau Gwent residents.

However, readers should be under no illusion how difficult this will be.

So alongside Alun Davies AM and colleagues on the council and MPs and AMs along the route, we must champion the success of our railway line and challenge decision makers to support investment in all our Valleys lines, including Ebbw Vale to Cardiff, to boost employment and reduce deprivation.

NICK SMITH MP Blaenau Gwent
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 28, 2012
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