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Tuesday, February 05, 2008 

Ebbw Vale Parkway to Cardiff Central rail link to finally open.

The passenger rail link between Ebbw Vale and Cardiff is finally due to open tomorrow (Wednesday 6th February).

It comes after delays of more than a month due to driver familiarisation and bad fencing.

News sources state that It's the first time the rail link has been active in 45 years but I recall trains carrying steel and coal running on the Risca line certainly in my lifetime. I also remember the temporary opening of the line during the time that Ebbw Vale hosted the Garden Festival of Wales back in 1992.

At a cost of £30m the service offers hourly trains between stations based at: Ebbw Vale Parkway, Llanhilleth, Newbridge, Crosskeys, Risca/Pontymister, Rogerstone and Cardiff Central. At this time, Llanhilleth and Crosskeys are still under construction.

The new line has been criticised for not immediately running directly to Newport which is currently being regenerated in time to host the 2010 Ryder Cup at The Celtic Manor resort. The reason for this is due to line switch/junction problems based at the Gaer. I believe the council are going to offer local business' the opportunity to fund the replacment of these points/junctions in the near future. Currently, if one wishes to travel to Newport utilising the rail link, you have to catch the train to Rogerstone, then get a bus to Newport.

The new line will truly be put to the test this coming Saturday as rugby fans will take advantage of the service as they make their way to Cardiff for Wales' game against Scotland in the 2008 RBS 6 Nations competition.

In a few weeks time we are looking to make the journey from Risca/Pontymister to Ebbw Vale to take in the wonderful scenery that the new route has to offer.

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