Wales calls on UK to address underinvestment in Welsh rail

24 November 2020 (Last Updated November 24th, 2020 16:03)

The Welsh Government has called on the UK Government to address underinvestment in the Welsh railway network.

Wales calls on UK to address underinvestment in Welsh rail
A Transport for Wales service to Carmarthen. Credit: Geof Sheppard via Wikipedia.

The Welsh Government has called on the UK Government to address underinvestment in the Welsh railway network.

The move comes after the UK Government launched a Union Connectivity Review to explore different avenues to improve transport infrastructure and connectivity between the four nations of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England.

Welsh Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales Ken Skates said that the step should be used as an opportunity to ‘put right’ the neglect of Welsh railways.

He also stressed on the continuance of current devolution settlement that delegated responsibilities to the Welsh Government.

According to the Welsh Government, the railways in the country has been underfunded by around £2.4bn-£5.1bn for the 2001-2029 period, based on current expenditure plans.

The government has also published a document detailing the calculations and another report highlighting how investment would benefit for north and south Wales mainlines.

Skates said: “The UK Government has to demonstrate its sincerity to levelling up our country by addressing their failure to invest fairly in Wales’s rail, broadband and aviation connectivity. It has refused to devolve these powers and funding, whilst also failing to take our connectivity seriously.

“The Union Connectivity Review is an opportunity for the UK Government to reflect on historic underinvestment and to focus on putting things right.”

The Union Connectivity Review is expected to assess all transport options between the nations and slated to submit its recommendations next year.

Last month, the Welsh Government decided to bring complete ownership of the Wales and Borders rail franchise under public control after passengers number plummeted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.