WALKING 230 MILES FROM BANGOR TO CARDIFF TO PUSH FOR THE RE-OPENING OF A TRAIN LINE BETWEEN SOUTH AND NORTH WALES
A GWYNEDD councillor will walk 230 miles from Bangor to Cardiff as part of a campaign to re-open rail links between south and north Wales.
Elfed Wyn ap Elwyn, 26, from Trawsfynydd, Plaid Cymru councillor for Bowydd and Rhiw, Blaenau Ffestiniog, will follow the rail corridors of Afon Wen, Cambrian, Aberystwyth to Carmarthen and the Great Western to Cardiff line.
His intention is to raise awareness of the need for a better public transport system to unite Wales and also link with the rest of the UK.
Elfed’s journey can be followed using Traws Linc Cymru’s live tracking map.
He is a member of the Traws Linc Cymru campaign group which wants to see a train network re-established in West Wales and to reunite communities in both north and south Wales – saving people hours of extra time having to travel through England as it currently stands.
Elfed will start on his epic journey by leaving Bangor early on the morning of Sunday, September 17 and finish 10 days later in Cardiff on September 27.
He will walk from Bangor to Penrhyndeudraeth (September 17), pause to attend council meetings (18), Penrhyndeudraeth to Barmouth 19, Barmouth-Machynlleth 20, Machynlleth-Aberystwyth 21, Aberystwyth-Lampeter 22, Lampeter 23, Carmarthen-Swansea 24, Swansea-Bridgend-Ogmore 25, Bridgend-Penarth 26 and finish his journey Penarth-Cardiff Bay, September 27.
Elfed said: “I really want to see the railways re-opening because I want to see the communities that have lost touch with each other from the time of the Beeching (cuts) to be re-connected again.
“I would like to see a community like Tregaron be part of a rail network and Penygroes being linked with Caernarfon again. I think the connections between communities have distanced since the railways were axed. Rural Welsh communities need to be reconnected which would be a positive development for the economy and the language as well.”
Elfed believes it would be possible for someone to travel from north Wales to Cardiff within a few hours – and complete a return journey easily within a day in the future – when the rail system is improved.
He said: “It’s ridiculous that we have to travel in the shape of a reversed C if we want to go from Bangor to Cardiff – from Bangor to England and down the Marches towards Cardiff. It’s crazy.”
Elfed, who is married to Anwen is the father of 15-month-old twins – Iorwerth Prysor and Gwynant Edw, said: “I want them to be able to maybe catch the train in Penrhyndeudraeth to go to Cardiff rather than having to have a car or if they want to go to Bangor that they can use the train.”
He said: “I want to develop Wales into a confident and prosperous country in which to live in so that we connect Wales internally rather exist as some cupboard under the stairs for Westminster as it is at the moment.”
He added: “If you want to join me on my walk or can offer me a place to stay for the night along the way, I would be very grateful!”
So far, 11,447 people have already signed a petition started by Elfed calling for rail links to be re-opened to re-connect north and south Wales.
The petition will be presented to the Welsh Parliament Petitions Committee on Wednesday, September 27 – the day Elfed arrives at the end of his epic journey in Cardiff Bay.
CROESO TO THE EISTEDDFOD – CARS AND BUSES ONLY
THOUSANDS of people will flock to Pen Llŷn (Llŷn Peninsula) for the National Eisteddfod of Wales at the beginning of August – most of them in cars or buses.
The fact of the matter is that, unlike in the past, there is no existing rail service – or even tracks – to connect most people in Wales with the area.
So, most of the 150,000 competitors and visitors travelling to the small village of Boduan, near Pwllheli, between August 5-12, will have to use cars, buses or taxis to arrive and travel around the area.
The nearest train station is Pwllheli (Cambrian Railway) and Bangor (main train line along north Wales).
It takes anything between 2 hours 44 minutes and 3 hours 50 minutes to get from Aberystwyth to Pwllheli by train – about an hour and a half by car.
Unfortunately, there are no trains going from Bangor to Caernarfon or on to Pwllheli – and there is certainly no connection to Boduan. The line was closed in 1972 and the connection between Caernarfon and Afon Wen.
Although it will not be easy for everyone to travel to the Eisteddfod this year, remember to support the Traws Link Cymru (TLC) campaign to reintroduce rail links in west Wales so that will have decent connections with the rest of the network as soon as possible.
NOTE FOR EDITORS: An on-line petition calling for the reopening of the railway lines from Bangor to Caernarfon and on to Afonwen as well as from Aberystwyth to Carmarthen attracted over 11,000 signatures in just a few months.
Now that the petition has exceeded 10,000 signatures it is likely to be debated at the Senedd in Cardiff.
A Feasibility Study for the Aberystwyth to Carmarthen line, completed in 2018, showed no significant obstacles to reopening, and the Senedd debate could lead to further feasibility assessments for the northern sections of the railway link.
Reopening the line between Bangor and Caernarfon has been included in Wales’ Transport Strategy for many years. And there is a very strong business case for this with through trains to Caernarfon from Manchester Airport, Cardiff and London giving easy access for visitors to the area and its world heritage status and for local people to travel to jobs along the coast.
Reinstating the track south from Caernarfon would greatly improve access to Penrhyn Llŷn (Peninsula) and the Cambrian Coast. Journeys such as Pwllheli to London would be possible in under four hours via Caernarfon compared with the current six hours via Machynlleth and Birmingham.
Similarly access to places such as Lampeter, Tregaron and the Teifi Valley would be much quicker via Swansea than is currently the case, thus opening West Wales and making North-South Wales journeys possible without going via England.
If any of your readers would like to join our campaign, please log on to trawslinkcymru.org.uk or donate to your crowdfunding campaign https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/trawslinkcymru2 or go on to our Facebook or Twitter or Instagram links.
Mike Walker (Chairperson, Traws Link Cymru)
For more information, please get in touch.