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STRATEGIC PLAN FOR FUTURE VISION OF RAILWAYS IN WALES

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The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA)'s new 10-year ...
The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA)'s new 10-year planwill allow Wales to have the safer, more reliable and value-for-money railway service that it needs and deserves, minister for environment Sue Essex said.

Ms Essex said the assembly looked forward to a continued close partnership with the SRA to help ensure the improvement of the rail network in Wales.

She said: 'I am delighted that this forward-looking plan recognises the priorities which should help to transform our railway network in Wales. At long last we have a plan which should deliver for rail passengers and freight users across Wales.

'The SRA Strategic Plan has identified the key role already played by the Welsh assembly government in the forward planning of the railways in Wales and the vision already outlined within our Transport Framework document.

'The Welsh assembly government is investing over£60m in the rail infrastructure in Wales over the next five years, including£10m for the Vale of Glamorgan line, alongside that planned by the SRA for enhancements, especially on the Valleys Line and Cambrian Line.

'The assembly has also invested in Park and Ride facilities and the creation of interchange terminals, such as those at Caerphilly and Brackla, encouraging people out of their cars and back onto trains. This will continue.

'We have developed a good working relationship with the SRA and the Wales and Borders Single Franchise is being taken forward as a priority in the Strategic Plan. This provides a real opportunity to increase the quality and frequency of services and I expect the new franchise to be operational next year.'

Ms Essex added: 'A good start is being made with the reopening of the Vale of Glamorgan line to passengers next year and there will be further opportunities to benefit from the£400m UK-wide investment proposals set out in the plan. Wales will also benefit from the commitments made on strategic services into London, including new rolling stock and track improvements.

'I also particularly welcome the SRA decision to develop a national rail academy to boost the training of staff in core railway skills. This is something the assembly has been pressing for as safety must always be at the core of all rail improvements.'

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