The Prime Minister has confirmed that a deal has finally been struck for electrification of the Welsh Valley Lines, after the UK government agreed a funding package with the Welsh government ahead of Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement on December 3.
The UK government is to cover the full costs of electrifying the Great Western Main Line to Swansea, and devolve the Wales and Borders rail franchise so that the Welsh government will decide the new franchise in 2018 - when Arriva Trains Wales’ 15-year contract expires.
In practice, the UK government will fund the upgrade of the Swansea-London main line by 2018, and pay almost half an estimated £500 million to electrify the Valley lines.
However, in order to make the deal happen, the UK government will take over sponsorship and fund the delivery of the Cardiff-Bridgend section of the main line electrification scheme to Swansea (worth £105m), while contributing £125m towards the costs of the wider Valley Lines electrification scheme. The Welsh government will take over sponsorship and delivery of the Valley Lines electrification, due to be completed by 2018.
- For more on this story, see RAIL 763, on sale December 10.