Local approval has been granted for the planned Welsh Global Centre of Rail Excellence, and an Outline Business Case for the project has been submitted.
On July 27/28, Powys County Council and Neath Port Talbot Council gave consent for earthworks to take place at the mothballed opencast mine at Nant Helen and nearby coal washery site at Onllwyn.
Plans are for a research and development centre that will also feature a 4.3-mile, 110mph, electrified oval test track.
The Welsh Government believes that this will help reduce the time it takes to introduce new trains, as well as reducing costs, by not having to test them abroad. In recent times, new UK fleets have undergone main line testing in Germany, Spain, Romania, Poland and the Czech Republic.
The site will also feature a tunnel for high pressure testing, a 2.8-mile high-tonnage infrastructure test loop, and a platform and station environment. Education and training facilities are also planned, as well as staff facilities and overnight accommodation.
For the FULL story, read RAIL 911, published on August 12, and available digitally from August 8.