A bilingual report by Traws Link Cymru, A Strategic Rail Corridor for West Wales, highlights that reopening the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen railway would cost approximately £620m which is 20% less than previously estimated by the Welsh Government.
The report argues that:
“It is the contention of TLC that there is a compelling argument for reinstating this railway line, because of the economic, social and cultural benefits that it would bring to West Wales. But there is also a wider strategic objective. Not only would the rebuilt railway improve both inter- and intra-regional connectivity but, in due course, it could form the first stage in a new transport network along the western fringes of Wales that would link the north and south of the country”
The proposed route would begin in Carmarthen and pass through Pencader, Llanybydder, Lampeter, Tregaron, and Llanilar before arriving at Aberystwyth.
The report found that 97 per cent of the original trackbed was clear and that reopening was a realistic prospect.
In its conclusion section Traws Rail Cymru argue:
“Whichever cost estimate is accepted, it is nonetheless evident that this will be an expensive project. But it bears comparison with the funds that have been allocated to some road-building schemes elsewhere in Wales, such as the Port Talbot Harbour Way (£107 million for only 4.8 km of carriageway), the Heads of the Valleys A465 upgrade (estimated cost of around £1 billion for 40 km of carriageway)”.
The Welsh Government feasibility report of two years ago identified some issues that would need to be overcome such as the potential flood risk impact of a new bridge over the Towy River and that significant parts of the route are within areas liable to flooding. It also raised the need to move the Gwili Railway steam train from its present location.