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Rail Network (South Wales)

Volume 586: debated on Wednesday 22 October 2014

6. What recent discussions he has had with Ministers in the Welsh Government on improvements to the rail network in south Wales. (905493)

Electrification of the great western main line to Swansea and the valley lines is a transformational project that would deliver a much needed boost to the Wales economy. I am determined to find a way forward for this important scheme, and I am leading discussions with Cabinet colleagues and Welsh Government Ministers to secure this vital investment for Wales.

I thank the Minister for that answer. He might not be aware that the two lines with the greatest passenger growth into Cardiff in the past couple of years have been the Chepstow to Cardiff and the Maesteg to Cardiff lines, which have far outstripped other valley lines. Is he surprised to know that there is no Sunday service on the Maesteg line for people who want to get to work or to get into our capital city? Will he discuss this with Arriva Trains Wales?

I was aware of that point, and I want to raise that issue with Arriva Trains Wales. The growth in usage of the valley lines is one of the reasons why we need to press ahead and create new capacity and make improvements to all the valley lines.

Will the delay in the delivery of the electrification of the valley lines mean that the final cost will go up?

I hope that there will be no delay in delivering the electrification project for the Great Western line and the valley lines. We are involved in productive and constructive discussions with Ministers in London and in the Welsh Government to find a way to crack on and deliver that important project for south Wales.