Reacting to the views that Cardiff could benefit from the proposed electrification of the rail network before other areas of Wales, Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood said: “There should be an emphasis on ensuring that the areas that most need electrification, reap the benefits first.
"In the case of the long overdue electrification of train lines in south Wales, this means starting work in the valleys where possible, especially as there are public transport improvements already in the pipeline in Cardiff. The perception for commuters from the coalfield will be one of arriving from areas with little infrastructure, to a Cardiff Central station which is in the process of being redeveloped.
“In the former coalfield communities, we have high unemployment and an aging and creaking public transport system that makes it very difficult for commuters without cars. As a frequent train passenger, I am often reminded that commuting from the Rhondda to Cardiff can be an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience due to regular overcrowding.
“It is time this was tackled. We need and deserve a transport system fit for the 21st century.
“Work could start quickly in the valleys on improving stations and introducing faster buses. We could also dual the line to Treherbert to ensure that extra capacity is built into the system. Shovels should be in the ground as soon as possible to pave the way for the electrification of the line.”
Ms Wood added: “There is also a wider perception that Cardiff is prioritised over the rest of the country. The Welsh Government needs to be making a concerted effort to combat this perception. Ensuring that work on electrification begins in the valleys would be one way to tackling this dangerous feeling.
“People are fed up of promises of ‘jam tomorrow’ when it comes to upgrading our public transport. We all want to see results quickly and I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”
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