Hopes that the Welsh Government will fund a new railway station at Brackla have been dashed by the answer to an Assembly Question from the Minister for the Economy, Transport and Science.
Plans for a new station at Brackla were included in the Welsh Government’s Transport plans published in 2010. Whilst, a SEWTA rail strategy report from March 2013 (pages 94-96, attached), suggested that a new Brackla station would be served by the current hourly Maesteg service, then by future half-hourly Maesteg trains or by local stopping services between Cardiff Central and Swansea. In addition the site has been protected for a railway station in Bridgend Council's draft Local Development Plan.
However, in a written answer to a question tabled by Welsh Liberal Democrats Transport Spokesperson, Eluned Parrott (attached) the Minister responded that ‘Network Rail have advised that it is not possible to deliver a new station at Brackla at the present time.’
The Welsh Liberal Democrats’ Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black, has described this latest development as a major blow to the area and to the local economy:
“The then-Minister for the Environment, Planning and Transport, Sue Essex, held a "turf-cutting ceremony" for the new Brackla railway station in March 2001. That is over 13 and a half years ago. In that time at least 9 new stations have been constructed in south Wales, including Llanharan, a few miles from Brackla and at least another 4 stations are in the pipeline.
“The truth appears to be that a new station at Brackla has not been a Welsh Government priority. Nor has investment in upgrading the Tondu passing loop that would increase the capacity for more services to benefit Brackla.
“The question the Minister needs to answer is why Bridgend is such a low priority for this sort of investment by the Welsh Government? I will be writing to the Minister to ask her to reconsider and to look at whether this sort of work can be scheduled at the same time as the electrification of the mainline so as to get maximum benefit from that upgrade.”