Page last updated at 06:52 GMT, Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Station campaign picks up steam

Arriva train
Arriva Trains Wales operate on the Pembrokeshire to Cardiff line

A campaign to reopen a railway station on the main west Wales line is picking up steam.

Trains travel through St Clears but have not stopped at the Carmarthenshire town for the past 45 years.

With 500 new homes planned and many existing residents commuting to Carmarthen or Swansea, the town council believes it is time it was reopened.

Angela Burns AM is supporting the idea and has arranged to meet with Network Rail to discuss the issue.

St Clears mayor Tom Brown said: "There was a lot of controversy about why it was closed - it was a very busy station and should not have been."

He said the catchment area included tourist destinations such as Laugharne and Pendine and said he was certain there would be demand.

"We are progressing steadily but trying to open station that's closed for so long is extremely difficult. We are very hopeful though," he said.

Trains go through St Clears at speed - we just need to get them to stop
Angela Burns AM

"It could be a request stop if necessary at first and we could build on that."

Mrs Burns, AM for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, is set to meet with Network Rail.

She estimated St Clears and its surrounding villages would provide a catchment of over 10,000 people and said a survey would help establish demand.

"It's not as if we are asking anyone to lay new track," she added.

"Trains go through St Clears at speed - we just need to get them to stop.

"If there was a station at St Clears trains could take a lot of people to work and bring people into the town for tourism.

"It's a very pretty town with a wide range of shops, a growing population with over 500 new houses in the pipeline and a big catchment area."

A spokeswoman for Network Rail said re-opening a station would generally involve industry-wide consultation with train operators, the Department of Transport and others.

"In general, prior to any assumptions being made about re-opening a station, a feasibility study needs to be undertaken to ascertain the suitability," she added.

"This study would take into account such factors as demand and cost in relation to other services operating in the area."

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