British Government betrays Wales on rail electrification promise


The British Government has today U-turned on a promise to electrify the South Wales Main Line to Swansea.  The Labour Party first pledged to electrify the line in 2009 before the Tories made the same promise in 2010.

The Westminster Transport Secretary has tried to justify his decision by suggesting current speed limits will limit the impact of electrification.

Wales, together with Albania and Moldova, remain the only countries in Europe that are without a single inch of electrified rail.

Carmarthenshire MP and Plaid Cymru's Transport spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, said:

"This is a disgraceful U-turn by the British Government, breaking a clear promise to the people of Wales. The British Government is making infrastructure investment decisions based on favouring large English cities over the Welsh economy, and Welsh taxpayers' are being asked to pay for the privilege.

"Wales remains the only country in western Europe that is without an inch of electrified railway, and in the meantime Welsh taxpayers are contributing towards paying for the most expensive railway in the world – in England – at an expected cost of £400 million per mile.

"For the Secretary of State for Wales to try and defend this U-turn and expect the people of Wales to be thankful for our apparently "new" carriages, built in the 1980s, is a dereliction of duty. His Government is fleecing the people he purports to represent.

"Wales was promised full electrification by both the Labour Party in 2009 and the Conservatives in 2010 – it is enough of a scandal that we are still waiting eight years later but for the British Government to break their promise now is an absolute disgrace.

"Wales is not only being ruled by London, it is being ruined by London. Westminster isn't working for Wales. The only long-term answer is to devolve responsibility for rail infrastructure to Wales so that we can get on with the job of developing our transport network and ensure that Welsh taxpayers' money is spent in Wales - not subsidising English railways."

Plaid Cymru's spokesperson on infrastructure, Dai Lloyd AM, added:

"This is an utter betrayal of the people who believed the Conservatives when they said that we'd have better rail services, and to the people who have hoped that their journeys will be quickened and opportunities expanded by an upgrade to the rail network. Wales doesn't stop at Cardiff, but the Tories clearly think it does. Upgrading our infrastructure beyond Cardiff is crucial if we are to strengthen the economy across Wales.

"This week the Labour government has tried to pass off trains that are almost 40 years old as somehow "delivering improvements" and now we're told that the promised upgrading of the rail line is cancelled. And still, there is absolutely no investment in north Wales' rail infrastructure.

"People are fed up with hand-me-down trains and poor rail services. All the while Welsh taxpayers are paying towards HS2 being extended in England.

"The Tory Government has got a cheek to look the people of Wales in the eye, and Labour should hang their heads in shame that they are so ineffective that they let this happen."


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