A call for a feasibility study into the chances of restoring a rail link to Porthcawl is now Welsh Conservative policy.
The call was made some weeks ago by George Jabbour, who is standing in May for the Conservatives in the Bridgend Assembly seat currently held by the First Minister, Carwyn Jones.
William Graham, the Shadow Minister for Transport, has now backed the call. Mr Jabbour has also been given a letter of support by Porthcawl Town Council.
William Graham said: “Porthcawl lost its train station rather unfairly half a century ago. As a result, it must be one of the largest towns in south Wales without a direct rail link.
“At the moment, plans for a large infrastructure metro project, which would cover the Cardiff area and go as far as Bridgend, are being finalised. The proposed Cardiff metro system is expected to cost about £600 million.
“It is very important that Porthcawl doesn’t miss out on this massive infrastructure project. Now is the time for Porthcawl to ask for a rail link, whether a tramway or other forms of light rail. A similar opportunity might not present itself again any time soon.
“Therefore, I firmly support the call of George Jabbour, to launch a feasibility study to extend the proposed Cardiff metro system to Porthcawl, other than via bus.”
Mr Jabbour, who has a background in both engineering and investment, said: “I am determined to explore all possible avenues to make sure that Porthcawl receives the investments it deserves.”
The GEM asked Mr Jabbour if, given his background in engineering and investment, he had a ‘ball park’ figure in mind for the cost of a rail link.
It is generally accepted that using the original route, closed in the early sixties, is a non starter, so the costs of a new rail link appear pretty significant.
However, Mr Jabbour said that he did not have any cost in mind for the project. He said that Rail Future Wales had produced a comprehensive report, listing possible new train routes (http://www.railfuture.org.uk/DL702) and that this included two options.
Route one is described as “an orbital route from Porthcawl via South Cornelly to Pyle Railway Station”. It would then take a roundabout route through existing rail lines, going through Cefn Cribwr, Aberkenfig, Sarn and eventually to Bridgend.
Route two is simpler, going from Bridgend Railway Station (low level) through Bryntirion, Broadlands and then on to Porthcawl. However, a great deal of new track would need to be laid.
Mr Jabbour said:?“The cost would depend on which route is chosen, which type of rail link is recommended, and whether it is part of the £600 million proposed Cardiff project, among other factors.
“The study we are calling for should look into the potential revenues generated, including from increased tourism in the area, and whether these additional revenues would pay for the rail link over the long term.
“Now is the right time to campaign for this given the massive investment in the proposed Cardiff metro and the consequential monies via the Barnett formula.”