Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New railway connections for Wales

There are plenty of lobbyists calling for new roads, but Father Deiniol’s plan is likely to be cheaper and more sustainable. His survey of the disused railway lines of Wales shows that there is one route - from Rhyl through Denbigh, Rhuthun, Corwen, Newtown, Llanidloes, Rhaeadr and Builth Road to Dowlais - which would require only two miles of new formation to link Holyhead to Cardiff(2). The rest of the way makes use of current and former railways. He proposes that short feeder lines also be built connecting this trunk route to Mold, Llangollen, Oswestry, Bala, Hay-on-Wye and Brecon(3).

The One-Wales Line could not only offer a much faster journey than the current long detour through England, it would also knit the other railways of Wales into a coherent network, as it uses the north coast railway and crosses the Cambrian line and the Shrewsbury to Swansea line. It would help to regenerate a desperately poor region in the south called the Heads of the Valleys. The project would look rather like the Western Railway Corridor in Ireland, which is reopening 184km of disused lines between Limerick and Sligo(4).

The least the Welsh Assembly Government should do is to commission a feasibility study and cost-benefit analysis of Father Deiniol’s plan. His railway would help Wales looks like a country again, rather than a depot for someone else’s empire.


1. Eduardo Galeano, 1971. Originally published as Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina. Siglo XXI Editores.

2. Tad Deiniol, 3rd February 2008. Proposal for a Direct, All-Wales, Holyhead to Cardiff Fast Rail Link. Yn Ein Blaenau. If you would like a copy of this document, I can send it to you.

3. Tad Deiniol, 2008. Map of Proposed North South Rail Link and Feeder Lines. Yn Ein Blaenau. If you would like a copy of this document, I can send it to you.

4. See