THE chief of a transport users group has welcomed the re-opening of Barry train station’s platform 3 – following its recent completion.
Cardiff & Vale Transport Users campaigner, Chris Ware said he was pleased with any improvements to the public transport system serving Barry and the Vale.
The congestion busting scheme, using £23m of Welsh Government funding, will potentially provide hundreds of extra rush-hour seats each day on rail services on the network.
The work at Barry’s main station is part of a wider £220m scheme to improve services into Cardiff from the Valleys and Vale by 2015.
Mr Ware said: “The reopening of platform 3 at Barry will not only improve the reliability of services to the Vale, but will also allow for any future expansion of rail services in the area. What I would like to see next is the reopening of the station at Aberthaw to encourage further use of the exisiting rail service."
“There are a few disused stations along the line. I've always felt that they could achieve much better passenger numbers with more stations. It would also help businesses like the Blue Anchor Inn to survive if punters had a quick and reliable way to get there.”
He said there was always the possibility of generating tourism in the area by running regular steam excursions between Barry and Bridgend.
“Heritage steam lines are a very popular tourist attraction - people travel from all parts of the country to go on them,” he said. “Such a thing would be a massive draw and generate a lot of income for the local economy.”
He added that Rhoose and Aberthaw residents also felt they had been let down since the introduction of the T9 airport bus service, with Cardiff Bus withdrawing from those places, and a less direct service in operation.
He said: “Of course, the bus is free to over 60s whereas the train isn't. This last fact discourages them from using the train. Could the Welsh Government or Vale Council introduce similar concessionary passes for the railway?”
Barry Island businessman, Marco Zeraschi also applauded the scheme.
He said: “It’s the first phase in improving the infrastructure for getting to and from Barry Island with minimum disruption and the second phase in this is the Barry Island link road. When people come to Barry Island they don’t want to have to wait half an hour to get off.”
Vale AM Jane Hutt AM praised the essential rail scheme saying it had “unlocked the potential for improved services on the Vale of Glamorgan line and it was exciting to see it completed.
She said: “Crucially, the work will improve reliability, due to less congestion on the line, and is also key to unlocking the potential for more frequent services. This will ultimately have significant economic and social benefits by improving access to jobs, education and training opportunities in Cardiff and elsewhere along the line.”
Route managing director for Network Rail Wales, Mark Langham, said: “Cardiff has the largest travelling workforce in Wales with around 37 percent of the all workers commuting from neighbouring authorities, like the Vale of Glamorgan. A large number of that workforce relies on rail and usage continues to increase adding further demand on an already-congested railway. Enhancing the infrastructure at Barry is part of a wider bank of works in the South Wales region in helping to cater for the extra demand from the region.”