Suppliers urge new government to maintain rail investment

Suppliers ++ The new chancellor Jeremy Hunt is being urged not to cut rail investment by the Railway Industry Association, which represents suppliers. It wrote to him as pressure grew for cuts in public spending. RIA chief executive Darren Caplan said: ‘We of course understand that there are incredibly difficult decisions to be made on the economy in the coming weeks and months. We wanted to point out to you and your officials that in terms of public spending, rail represents impressive value for money. A recent study published last year, commissioned by RIA and conducted by Oxford Economics, shows that the railway industry is an essential generator of economic growth, jobs and investment. In the UK, rail supports 710,000 jobs, contributes over £43 billion Gross Value Added, provides up to £800 million in exports, and for every £1 spent on rail, £2.50 of investment is generated elsewhere in the economy.’

Closure ++ The viaduct at Barmouth will be closed again in mid-November, as work to upgrade the structure is resumed by Network Rail. The bridge reopened for trains temporarily on 15 October, but only for about a month.  A long-running project to upgrade the mainly wooden structure has meant a series of closures, the last of which was from 12 September. The next stage of work from November will include additional repairs and strengthening work as well as further metallic restoration and track renewal. During this stage, both the railway and the parallel pedestrian footway will be closed. As before, buses are replacing Transport for Wales trains from 15 November until 10 December.

Free rides ++ Transport for Wales is helping families and friends explore Wales and the Borders for less with a ‘Kids Go Free’ offer this half term. Up to two children under the age of 11 can travel free with each fare paying adult on TfW services, and the minimum age of the accompanying adult has now been lowered from 18 to 16. Children aged 11 to 15 can travel without charge between the hours of 09.30 and 16.00 and again from 18.00, Monday to Friday, and all day on Saturday and Sunday.