2018 date for Swansea rail electrification is welcomed
RAIL electrification to Swansea is set to be complete by 2018.
Network Rail say the modernisation will cut 20 minutes off the journey time from London.
The £350 million investment will also see lines from Cardiff to the South Wales valleys electrified. However, that part of the project is not set to be completed until 2020.
In 2011 the UK Government announced it would only electrify the Great Western Mainline as far as Cardiff.
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However, after a long and hard fought campaign, the decision was reversed last year. Byron Davies, AM for South Wales West and Conservative shadow minister for transport in the Welsh Government, said the rail project was one of the greatest since Victorian times.
He added: "The news that plans for electrification are steaming ahead is hugely significant for the Welsh economy.
"The investment in our railways from Conservatives in Government is one of the greatest infrastructure projects since Victorian times. Electrification to Swansea will make it easier for businesses to invest in South West Wales and help create conditions for economic prosperity.
"I wholeheartedly welcome Network Rail's proposed timetable to modernise our railways and create a rail network fit for the 21st century.
"News that electrification is progressing swiftly stands in contrast to the previous Labour Government, which failed to electrify even an inch of track in Wales in 13 years."
And Bruce Roberts, secretary of Swansea Business Club, said: "We're very pleased to learn of the target dates for the electrification of the London-Swansea main line.
"As important as the Network Rail works timetable is that South Wales will be getting new trains to replace today's very old fleet, which now looks and feels very tired indeed. Passenger numbers seem to be growing daily, so the other hope is that capacity will be increased on the electric rolling stock."
Geraint Davies, Swansea West MP, campaigned for the electrification to the city.
He said: "It's fantastic news that it will be ready for 2018. This will really help inward investment.
"The fact that this is going to be finished within five years will be really good for attracting inward investors, especially with the building of the second Swansea University campus.
"With high speed broadband in Swansea and 20 minutes cut off the journey time, people tired of London will see what a great place to work Swansea is — and it's closer to London. And with the Premier League the city has been put on the map. People are talking about it."