The new Ebbw Vale Town station opens this weekend when the first train pulls in on Sunday.
The station which will serve Ebbw Vale town centre is part of a £11.5m Welsh Government-funded project, which also includes an extension and speed improvements to the railway track.
It is located on the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff line and will be served by the existing hourly service, with the potential for more services in the future.
The 07:38 Cardiff Central to Ebbw Vale Town will be the first train to arrive at 08.41 on Sunday and the 08.45 to Cardiff will be the first train to depart.
The new station, delivered by Network Rail, features a brand new building, 150m platform to fit up to six train carriages, car park, CCTV, customer information screens, waiting shelter, help point, ticket machines and bicycle storage.
The existing square will link the station to the main north-south bus routes and the mechanical link up to the town centre.
New track has been installed extending the existing railway northwards from Ebbw Vale Parkway, through The Works and up to Ebbw Vale Town.
Welsh Government Transport Minister Edwina Hart said: “The Ebbw Vale railway line is very popular, with some 300,000 journeys annually.
“Since the Welsh Government opened the Ebbw Vale Parkway station, we have also invested in a new station at Pye Corner.
“Together with our investment in the track, the new Ebbw Vale Town station will improve access to jobs and services.”
James Jackson, route enhancement manager for Network Rail Wales, said: “More and more people are travelling by rail and we are working with the Welsh Government to deliver improvements across Wales.
“This improvement to the Ebbw Vale line will build on the success of the re-opening in 2008 and the recent opening of the new station at Pye Corner.
The extension into Ebbw Vale town, along with the new station, will help boost the local economy by making it easier for many more people to travel by train to access jobs, training and education.”
Lynne Milligan, Customer Services Director at Arriva Trains Wales, said: “We would like to thank everyone involved in this project who have worked hard to get the station ready for train services in time for the launch of our new summer timetable.
“We would also like to advise our customers that in order to include Ebbw Town station, the Ebbw Valley line timetable has been slightly amended.
“Services from Cardiff Central in the direction of Ebbw Town will now leave all stations a minute earlier meaning that Ebbw services will leave Cardiff Central at 34 minutes past the hour instead of 35 minutes past the hour.
“Ebbw Valley line services in the Cardiff direction will be running up to two minutes later than previously timetabled.”
Meanwhile, Ms Hart has been asked for more information on her plans for the Ebbw Vale railway line.
At the National Assembly, Islwyn AM Gwyn Price asked her for a statement on transport infrastructure in the Cardiff capital region.
He said: “The Ebbw Vale railway line, which runs through my constituency, provides vital access to jobs and services for many people who live in the South Wales Valleys.
“I’m delighted that the Cardiff capital regional board have published a proposed map for the South Wales metro system that includes an additional Ebbw Vale to Newport route.
“What discussions have the Welsh Government had regarding the proposed Ebbw Vale to Newport route?”
Ms Hart said that as part of phase one of the South Wales metro integrated travel plan, work is under way to deliver further track capacity to provide additional services to Newport and/or Cardiff.
She added: “This work is due to be completed by the end of 2016.
“I will have to look at service patterns as part of the franchise as well for Wales and the border. Phase one of the metro project will deliver £77m of investment.
“This includes the extension of the railway line to Ebbw Vale town and the new station at Pye Corner. I’ll be providing a further update to members on the metro before the summer recess.”
Meanwhile, Alun Davies is pressing for a new railway station to be built at Abertillery.
At the National Assembly, the Blaenau Gwent AM said that many people in his constituency welcome the extension of rail services to Ebbw Vale and the ongoing work constructing the dynamic loop south of Blaenau Gwent to enable additional services on the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff line.
He added: “Many people see the next priority in the development of this line as a new station and services to Abertillery.”
He wondered whether these might be included in the planning for the new South Wales metro integrated travel system.
Ms Hart said her officials have already started to work on options to provide the necessary infrastructure for potential additional services on the Ebbw Vale line.
ABERTILLERY TRAIN STATION
IT has been fifty years since Abertillery station closed, but after years of campaigning residents might soon be able to take the train again.
Transport minister Edwina Hart has said the government is looking at whether a new station could be based near Tesco.
The superstore was built on Castle Street by the site of the old railway line.
Speaking at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, Ms Hart said work to allow the Ebbw Vale line to take on more services, including potential trains to Abertillery, had already started.
She said the government expected to publish details of new rail services before the Welsh Assembly’s summer break.
Anthony Partridge, who started a petition for a new station in Abertillery, said previously: “People here are struggling to get out of Abertillery, and the nearest station at Llanhilleth is over three miles away.
“This is vital for our town as businesses are struggling and there is high unemployment because people can’t get to other parts of South Wales unless they can drive.”
In the 1960s, increased reliance on motorways meant track across the country was ripped up. The then government’s Beeching Report recommended closing more than 2,000 stations and although Abertillery was not directly mentioned it specified Caldicot Halt, Magor and Llantrisant among rail destinations to be axed.
Back in October 2010, transport consultant Capita Symonds recommended that a new station be built in Abertillery, with a new hourly service introduced between the town and Cardiff.
Members of the South East Wales Transport Alliance approved this, with negotiations taking place with Tesco to buy land that would also fit 80 car parking spaces.
However, the final decision rested with the Welsh Government and all went quiet on the issue until recently.
The Labour government wants to build a ‘metro’ system of bus and rail links across South Wales, with routes under consideration including a rail link between Ebbw Vale and Newport.
Ms Hart’s comments came in response to a question from Blaenau Gwent AM Alun Davies, who said: “Many people in Blaenau Gwent, Minister, see the next priority in the development of the Ebbw Vale line as a new station and services to Abertillery.”
Ms Hart added that work to allow more trains to run on the Ebbw Vale line would be finished at the end of 2016 with additional trains put on to Newport, Cardiff or both cities.
The decision on where to send the trains would be based on what passengers wanted, she said.
Pointing to the new stations at Pye Corner in Rogerstone and Ebbw Vale town centre, she said the first phase of the metro, worth £77 million, was already taking place.
Asking where money for the project was coming from, Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies said some money might be available from EU funds.
Ms Hart replied she would report back to AMs on the “exciting” metro developments soon.
Source: South Wales Argus & Wales Online
The results are now in.
Labour hold their seats in Islwyn and Caerphilly but the an upsurge in support for UKIP has seen them pushed into second place in both areas making them a new future contender with other parties. Conservatives took third place and Plaid Cymru in fourth. Across Wales Labour took 36.9%, Conservatives 27.2% and UKIP 13.6% with plaid Cymru at 12.1%.
Click on graphics below to in-large the graphs for more details.
The Police are appealing for information to identify this man who they would like to speak to following the theft of a crate of lager from Treowen Stores in Newbridge at approximately 8.15pm on Saturday 25th April.
Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting log 438 25/04/15.
Gwent Police are advising residents in the Pontllanfraith area of Blackwood to be extra vigilant with their home security.
The message comes after 9 homes have been broken into this month.
Streets targeted include: Pinewood Court and Newbridge Road – where a Sony PlayStation, an Apple iPad, a Kindle, a wedding ring and diamond rings have all been stolen.
Blackwood Sergeant, Mark Thomas explains: “We’ve recently seen a cluster of attempted house breaks within Pontllanfraith with no pattern where and when the crimes are being committed. I’m urging residents to always keep their homes secure at all times of the day and night.
“I want residents to remember that thieves will take any chance they can, please don’t make it easy for them.
“We will now be increasing our patrols of the area. If you do see any suspicious activity, please call us immediately on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 FREE.”
Leisure centres could close across Caerphilly County Borough as part of a major shake-up of services.
Caerphilly County Borough Council has carried out a review of its leisure services and has recommended that “multifunctional” leisure centres should be located in Risca, Caerphilly, Newbridge and the Aberbargoed or Bargoed area.
The report, which can be found on the council’s website, details the condition and use of the council’s 11 leisure centres and recommends closing Cefn Fforest, Pontllanfraith, the Sue Noakes centre near Ystrad Mynach, Heolddu and New Tredegar.
The report recommends that new leisure centres be built in the Aberbargoed or Bargoed area and Caerphilly town.
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Gwent has announced that all meetings of his decision making forum will now be held in public.
Chaired by Gwent PCC Ian Johnston, the Strategy and Performance Board (SPB) is responsible for monitoring the performance of Gwent Police Force and how it effectively delivers its service against his Police and Crime Plan. Standard items on the agenda include the performance and delivery of operational policing; the management of the budget and resources; the addressing of any community concerns about policing; and updates on on-going critical incidents and strategic threats and risks.
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Caerphilly Youth Theatre is holding weekly sessions at Newbridge Memo for 14 to 19-year-olds with an interest in drama and performance.
The group is looking for people with a keen interest in a variety of theatrical elements which include performing, technical skills, costume design, set design or make-up.
The sessions run from 6pm to 8pm every Monday and cost £2.50, with the first one free. For info contact Kate Verity on 01495 224425.
Date(s) – Monday, April 20
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Saturday 9 May 2015, 10am to 5pm. Caerphilly Town Centre
The fourth Caerphilly Food Festival is pulling out all the stops to make it an event to remember, and one that will draw visitors from near and far! This year’s event will descend on the town centre on Saturday 9 May.
The high street will be adorned with stalls offering a food market through the town and host a feast of entertainment for all ages. A variety of food stalls will line the street filling he town with delicious smells and sizzling sounds of a bustling food fayre!
Foodies will be in their element as cookery demonstration programmes accompany the festival, offering inside information on how produce is made and how to improve your own culinary skills.
There will be an abundance of attractions for visitors of all ages to see with fun activities and entertainment enhancing the street festival, bringing fantastic colour and excitement to Caerphilly.
For further information on the event please contact The Visit Caerphilly Centre on 02920 880011 or contact our Visit Caerphilly Team.
To keep up to date with this event, like Visit Caerphilly on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @visitcaerphilly
For more information visit the Food Festival website.
Works to progress the final phase of the Newbridge regeneration works are underway, and despite forthcoming works to undertake paving and resurfacing in the town, Caerphilly County Borough Council and appointed contractors Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Ltd are keen to emphasise that Newbridge remains very much open for business as usual.
Between Monday 13th April and Sunday 10th May, it will be necessary to close the road where Bridge Street, High Street and North Road meet in order for paving and resurfacing works to take place. During this time, diversions will be in place and advance warning signs positioned to advise motorists of the works.
There will also be some diversions to bus routes in the area during this time:
5 Blackwood – Oakdale – Newbridge – Pantside
- Towards Pantside buses will operate normally to Newbridge but will then operate via Crumlin to Pantside.
- Towards Blackwood buses will operate from Pantside via West End. As a result buses to Blackwood will depart from Ebbw View Terrace not outside The Co-operative.
- Bus stops at Newbridge Comprehensive School will not be served
95A Roseheyworth – Abertillery – Newbridge Comprehensive School
95B Warm Turn – Abertillery – Newbridge Comprehensive School
95C Aberbeeg – Newbridge Comprehensive School
- These buses will continue to operate to Newbridge Comprehensive School.
- The afternoon journeys will not serve North Road or Crumlin Square.
151 Blackwood – Newbridge – Abercarn – Risca – Newport
- On Mondays to Saturdays, buses departing Blackwood and Newport up until 1800 will incur an extra 6 minutes journey time as these buses will need to operate via Crumlin
- To allow for the extra time, all buses up until the 1800 departure will leave Blackwood 6 minutes earlier than the current timetable and run 6 minutes earlier between Blackwood and Chapel of Ease. From Chapel of Ease buses will continue to Newport on the normal timetable.
- Likewise, all buses departing Newport until 1800 will operate as normal to Chapel of Ease then operate 6 minutes later between Newbridge and Blackwood.
- Buses departing Blackwood and Newport after 1800 and those on Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays will operate to the current timetable however these buses will stop on Ebbw View Terrace in Newbridge Town Centre (not outside or opposite The Co-operative).
- The journey on schooldays departing Crosskeys at 0805 will continue to terminate at Newbridge Comprehensive
School at 0816.
- Bus stops at Newbridge Comp. School will not be served.
X74 Crosskeys – Newbridge – Abertillery – Brynmawr – Abergavenny
- This bus will operate via West End and use the stops at Beulah Chapel as normal.
- Bus stops at Newbridge Comprehensive School will not be served.