Prime Minister David Cameron has ended a standoff with the Welsh Government after promising to fund South Wales’ substantial electrification programme.
The UK government has unveiled a £230 million funding package which covers the Cardiff-Bridgend section of the Great Western main line electrification programme to Swansea and a £105 million contribution to the Valley Lines electrification scheme.
The announcement, which ends a long-running dispute between Westminster and the Welsh Government over who should fund the project, also includes plans to devolve the Wales and Borders franchise, allowing the Welsh Government to decide the terms of the new operating contract from 2018.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “After years of neglect, this part of Wales will finally get the infrastructure it needs with faster, more modern, more efficient trains and the impact will be huge.
“Spreading the employment opportunities from Cardiff and out to the Valleys and helping hardworking people from all parts of this great nation to get on. This has only been possible because of the UK government and shows our long-term economic plan in action and working for the people of Wales.”
First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “This deal will deliver electrification all the way from London to Swansea and enable us to move forward plans to modernise the Valleys Lines at no net cost to the Welsh Government.
“Together with an agreement to fully devolve power over the Welsh rail franchise this will allow the Welsh Government to move forward with its ambitious plans to create the efficient and reliable rail service Wales needs and deserves.”
Transport Minister Edwina Hart added: “Electrification of the mainline will be a massive step forward in creating a modern train service that is capable of meeting future demand and supporting economic growth.
“Upgrading, electrifying and improving the Valleys Lines is vital to our ambitions for delivering the South Wales Metro.”