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Last Updated: Friday, 14 December 2007, 21:16 GMT
Talks held over 30m rail delay
Ebbw Vale track
An opening ceremony was scrapped earlier this week
Fresh talks have been held over delays to the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff rail link.

The line was to have opened amid celebrations on Friday, but a ceremony to mark the end of the 30m project was cancelled over engineering issues.

Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones ordered the meeting after discussions with Blaenau Gwent Council.

The council's chief executive said the rail track will now be passed over to the authority of Network Rail early next week.

"Network Rail has also confirmed that the new track had been successfully tested by their state-of-the art testing train during November and the signalling system was commissioned earlier this week," added Robin Morrison.

A special train was to have travelled from Rogerstone to Ebbw Vale along the route of the reopened railway earlier on Friday, with brass bands, school choirs, and plaques unveiled at each station.

But the ceremony was cancelled at the last minute on Wednesday when it emerged that the project would not be finished on time.

Blaenau Gwent's independent assembly member, Trish Law, described the cancellation as a "bombshell"

It is now thought that the train service will not start until the new year on the line.

Outstanding issues

But after Friday's meeting between Welsh Assembly Government officials, contractors, Network Rail and the council, Blaenau Gwent's chief executive said everything was being done to speed up the opening process.

"Following the handover of the track a project team led by Network Rail will meet to identify any remaining works that need to be completed," said Mr Morrison.

"Network Rail will then work with the contractors to rectify any outstanding issues."

When that work is completed, operators Arriva Trains Wales will be able to train drivers on the track, and finally settle time-table arrangements for the service.



SEE ALSO
Anger as 30m rail line delayed
12 Dec 07 |  South East Wales
Slow worms could delay stations
25 Oct 07 |  South East Wales
Ebbw Vale's train link restored
28 Sep 06 |  South East Wales

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