THE Welsh Government is being urged to accept the offer of a £25 million train station on the outskirts of Swansea, while it is still on the table.
Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns has secured a funding pledge from Conservative colleagues at the Department for Transport for a parkway station on the Swansea District Line, at Felindre.
But it is unclear if this £25 million will be on offer if the current Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling is shunted from his role by the incoming Tory leader, whoever that may be.
The Tories would like a decision from the Welsh Labour Government on the parkway offer, including a commitment to run train services to the new station, by the start of the summer recess.
Mr Cairns and Ken Skates, Wales’s Minister for Economy and Transport, met earlier in the week, where the parkway proposal was understood to be one of the talking points.
Welsh Conservative AM Suzy Davies said she backed the parkway proposal, which would speed up journey times between east and west Wales.
“I urge the Welsh Government to get behind this scheme,” said the regional AM.
Mrs Davies also called on Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart to support the parkway, which she said would be a core element of a wider Metro transport proposition for the Swansea Bay area.
Welsh Labour has been exploring the Metro idea, which includes an enhanced Swansea commuter line, but this would far more expensive to deliver than a standalone parkway station.
It is also concerned about the parkway’s potential negative impacts on Swansea city centre and Neath town centre, because cross-country services could miss them out.
A Welsh Government spokesman said its position on the parkway station was clear.
“Any new development must be done in a coordinated way that does not destabilise the plans for economic regeneration of Swansea city centre or negatively impact Neath,” he said.
“A new station on the Swansea District Line – which does not currently have regular daytime passenger services – would need new services.
“We are working with the UK Government to increase the number of services to Wales, in addition to extending services that currently terminate from Cardiff through West Wales,” he said.
“This would be best done as part of the development of a wider Metro in South West Wales.”
Cllr Stewart agreed, saying the parkway offer was acceptable if it was part of a wider UK Government transport investment.
“What we can’t do is use it in isolation,” he said.