The Welsh Affairs Committee announces a new inquiry into the cancellation of plans to electrify rail between Cardiff and Swansea.
The inquiry follows the announcement in July by the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling to cancel plans to electrify the railway to Swansea, replacing electrification with bi-mode trains, promising that the change in transport strategy for south Wales would remove the need for disruptive works and prove to be better value for money.
Plans to electrify the Great Western Mainline between Swansea and Paddington Station in London were first announced in 2012, but have been hit by a series of delays and cost overruns. Electrification will continue along the rest of the line, but the 60 mile stretch between Swansea and Cardiff has been cancelled.
Announcing the inquiry, Committee Chair David TC Davies commented:
"The Government has decided to cancel plans to electrify the route between Cardiff and Swansea, and instead announced investment in new rolling stock and station improvements. We have launched this inquiry to examine the reasoning behind this decision.
Do their claims of greater capacity and quicker journeys stack up, or could it be argued that electrification would provide better value for money? What impact will this decision have on the economy of south Wales? Does this strategy reflect the transport priorities for Wales and should we be devolving further powers on rail to the Welsh Assembly."
Terms of reference
The Welsh Affairs Committee is inviting evidence on the following issues:
- The arguments for and against electrification of the railways.
- The cost of electrification of the railways in Wales.
- How cancelling electrification will impact Swansea and Cardiff.
- The case for devolving rail infrastructure spending to the Welsh Government
Interested parties are requested to keep to a word limit of 3,000 words and to focus on key areas that the Committee should investigate during its inquiry.
The deadline for written submissions will be Monday 6 November 2017. Written evidence should be submitted via the inquiry page.