Full steam ahead for new train station between Abergavenny and Hereford

Monday 17th May 2021 8:43 am
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Trains could soon be stopping at Pontrilas again pic: www.railwaystationcottages.co.uk ()

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HOPES of a new train station half-way between Abergavenny and Hereford are on track for a possible opening in 2024.

Campaigners are confident that the old Pontrilas Station on the Wales-England border will be reopened, with the Department for Transport calling for detailed plans from Transport for Wales.

Pontrilas Station closed to passengers in 1958 after serving the local community for nearly a century.

Local residents launched a campaign to bring back the station in 2019, saying it could carry up to 500 passengers a day, as well as freight for industry such as Pontrilas Timber and Black Mountain Quarries.

Currently, anyone wanting to use the train locally must travel to Abergavenny or Hereford, which are 25 miles apart.

Welsh Government Transport Minister pledged his support last year, but the final decision is down to the UK Government with the station site a few hundred yards over the border in England.

Professor Clive Stainton, who has spearheaded the project on Ewyas Parish Council with chairman Cllr Peter Jinman, told councillors at a meeting on April 27: ”I think none of us can quite believe this, but we think this is actually going to happen.

“Whitehall continues to write to me and Peter, and now they’re asking for details about how Transport for Wales is going to run our brand new station.

“In the next couple of days we will have a conversation with the managing director Keolis, which is the contractor that works for Transport for Wales to run station.

“What we were told before that meeting is that he is very keen to make this happen, and the fact he lives fairly local helps us.

“With the Department of Transport now down to this level of detail, the nitty-gritty of how the station is run by Transport for Wales, I’m pinching myself we’ve got this far.

“It does look like as if it’s going to happen.”

People say there is plenty of demand for the station, which could also serve heavy transport for the Pontrilas Army Training Area.

Professor Stainton said when the campaign first started: “Pontrilas Parkway is wanted by the local community and it would bring clear, direct benefits in many different ways and, above all, is achievable.

“There is considerable public support for this project. The local Neighbourhood Development Plan has Pontrilas Parkway station at its centre. Hereford City is in favour, as is Herefordshire Council.

“We appreciate that this is a project that will take some time to complete but there has not been a better time than at present to make a start given the needs of the area, the concerns as to growth in road traffic and increased investment in and usage of the national rail system.”

Hereford and South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman also backs the project.

“It would be a huge step forward not just for Pontrilas and Ewyas Harold but for the south of the county as a whole to reopen Pontrilas station, and I am hugely supportive of this project,” he has said.

“With the advent of new technology there are more options than ever to improve our infrastructure, and I am working with Peter and Clive to get this project in front of ministers both in the Government and at the Welsh Assembly.”

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