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Last Updated: Friday, 10 June, 2005, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Rail link returns after 40 years
Train
The service will link up to Cardiff International Airport
A passenger rail service is returning to the Vale of Glamorgan in south Wales for the first time in 41 years.

The line, which has cost 17m and was officially opened by Transport Minister Andrew Davies, will carry direct trains to Cardiff and Bridgend from Sunday.

The railway also links to the Cardiff International Airport station in Rhoose, with a shuttle bus to the terminal.

But Welsh Conservatives have criticised the frequency of the service.

The old railway line has been shut to regular passenger services since 1964, but has been revamped with 17m investment from the Welsh Assembly Government.

Cardiff airport
Passengers will take a shuttle bus to the airport

On Friday morning, Mr Davies reopened the line in Bridgend, before moving onto ceremonies at new stations which have been built in Llantwit Major and Rhoose.

Mr Davies said it was "a historic day for transport in Wales".

"The restoration of passenger services to the Vale of Glamorgan after 40 years represents a major milestone in the delivery of an efficient and integrated transport infrastructure for Wales," he said.

He added that the airport terminal was on the wrong side of the airport to be closer to the railway station.

"To change that would be huge expense but obviously we will be working with the airport to improve services," he said.

'Lacks ambition'

But Welsh Conservatives said the frequency of the service from Cardiff to the airport meant its impact should not be overstated.

The service will link up to Cardiff International Airport
A new station has been built at Rhoose

"With services from Cardiff to the airport scheduled for just once every hour, I cannot see how this will reduce the need for people to drive," said the party's transport spokesman Alun Cairns.

"As usual, the Welsh assembly government's plans lack ambition.

"The lack of more frequent services means people in the Vale will still find it quicker to get to and from Cardiff by car or bus."

Clive Williams, the director of the Rail Passengers Committee Wales, said he was delighted at the service.

"The committee has always been an advocate for integrated transport, and the provision of a bus link between Rhoose station and the airport terminal is a major step towards achieving that integration," he said.

Diversions

Graeme Bunker, managing director of Arriva Trains Wales, said the line was great news for the local community and for people travelling to the airport.

Councillor Tom Williams, chair of the South East Wales Transport Alliance (Sewta), said it was "a good start" in improvements which could offer practical alternatives to the car.

Since 1964, the line has remained open for freight trains and for weekend diversions of passenger trains when engineering work has been carried out on the main line between Bridgend and Cardiff.

Work on the project was carried out by Network Rail.




SEE ALSO:
Airport rail link work begins
08 Jul 04 |  Wales
Delay in Vale rail opening
09 Jul 03 |  Wales
Passengers' sharp reminder
23 Jun 04 |  South East Wales
Airport 'fails security test'
10 Nov 03 |  Scotland


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