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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I decided to take a walk this afternoon with my two boys along the ridge between Ebbw Vale and Tredegar.

Below are pictures of the massive ex-Corus site in Ebbw Vale, closed in 2002. It is the strip of grey running through the middle of the pictures.







The site is over a mile long and "The Works" redevelopment is therefore one of the largest projects in the area. It is a mixed use development including:
  • Residential
  • Office space
  • Primary school
  • Learning campus
  • New hospital
  • Leisure centre
The development will connect to the existing town centre and will include a new Ebbw Vale town railway station, the terminus of the recently opened Ebbw Vale railway. Local politicians are seeking to fast track this so that the station is complete in time for the National Eisteddfod on the site in 2010.



The Aneurin Bevan Hospital is the first building to have begun construction on the site:


There are some really interesting features to this development such as a green bridge, reusing the basement structures from the old buildings, etc. I highly recommend downloading the PDFs from the following page:
http://new.wales.gov.uk/theworks/home/vision/?lang=en
 

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Kyle
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What is happening with the Ebbw line at the moment ? I've heared it is really busy.

When are they likely to make it a dual line rather than the single line they have now ? That, as well as the line into Newport, Abertillery etc has to be sorted out as soon as possible to help out Blaenau Gwent.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You're right, the ridership on the line is double what was forecast! As the article below states, it will cost so much more to double track the line now than it would have done to have laid two tracks during initial construction. It sounds like it is going to have to be done, although I haven't heard anything since this article, so when it will happen is anyone's guess.

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2008/08/11/ebbw-vale-rail-link-is-a-victim-of-own-success-91466-21507888/

Ebbw Vale rail link is a victim of own success

Aug 11 2008 by Rhodri Clark, Western Mail

INVESTMENT in a flagship Welsh railway scheme was skimped after the number of people using the trains was “woefully underestimated”, an AM claimed yesterday.

Last week the reopened Ebbw Vale railway passed its first six months of operation, with figures showing it has carried more than a quarter of a million passengers.

With 44,000 passengers a month, the trains have not only doubled the forecast of 22,000, but have even smashed the 2012 target of 33,000 passengers.

But while the success of the £30m Welsh Assembly Government-funded scheme has delighted officials, there is concern that the scheme missed out on further investment because of the inaccurate forecast.

During the construction phase, a decision was made to provide just three miles of double track instead of nine. That rules out any additional services over the line – including a link to Newport, an omission that has been strongly criticised – without major expenditure.

Providing nine miles of double track in the original project would have been relatively cheap, because the entire railway was a construction site. Now the work would take place on a live railway, with expensive additional safety measures required.

Blaenau Gwent AM Trish Law is now seeking urgent talks with transport minister Ieuan Wyn Jones to see if remaining elements of the rail scheme, which could help ease “gross overcrowding” on the line, can be speeded up.

“Clearly there has been an under-investment in the development and restoration of the rail link between Cardiff and Ebbw Vale,” she said.

“While we need, for example, a greater length of double track, the cost is going to be significantly more than it would have been had these matters been addressed during track construction.

“Set against the need for more investment in the line that already exists is the need to invest in the missing links – the Newport spur and the extension of the line to both Ebbw Vale town and Abertillery.

“It is evident that passenger forecasts have been woefully underestimated. I get many complaints of standing-room only and grossly overcrowded trains.

“I shall be writing to Arriva to see if there is adequate rolling stock and to see what can be done to alleviate the problems.

“Having said that, I am delighted that the demand for passenger services between Ebbw Vale and Cardiff is so great.”

Blaenau Gwent council, which implemented the project to reopen the line for the first time in more than 40 years, said the train’s popularity reflected increased activity in the local economy.

A spokesman said: “The number of passengers using the Ebbw Valley railway is currently twice that forecast in 2002. This is very good news.”

Arriva Trains Wales commercial director Mike Bagshaw said: “There is no doubt of the popularity of this service, which has exceeded all expectations.

“Saturdays and the holiday periods are the most popular times to travel on the line and we have put on extra carriages at these times to cope with demand. Performance has also been high, with more than 96% of trains arriving within five minutes of the published time.”

The passenger numbers could easily have been higher. The service was meant to start in December, bringing crowds of Christmas shoppers on board, but was delayed until February 6.

Two of the six new stations, Crosskeys and Llanhilleth, opened months later. Easter was exceptionally early and cold, and the spring and summer weather have not been the best for days out.

The credit crunch may also have held back the number of commuters using the train, by stopping many Cardiff workers buying houses near the new stations.

A WAG spokesman said: “The new link shows our commitment to a strong role for railways in a greener 21st-century Wales. It will also act as a catalyst for economic regeneration.

“Network Rail is currently carrying out a feasibility study on behalf of the WAG to look at options for running a service between Ebbw Vale and Newport.”
 

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Discussion Starter #4
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/south-wales-news/blaenau-gwent/2008/09/18/investment-signals-go-ahead-for-ebbw-vale-rail-link-91466-21822396/

Investment signals go ahead for Ebbw Vale rail link
Sep 18 2008 by Dominic Jones, Gwent Gazette

A RAIL link between Ebbw Vale and Newport will be up and running by 2010 after the announcement of a £2.6m investment from the Assembly.

Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones, who is also Minister for the Economy and Transport, announced the investment of up to £2,618,000 would be used for rail and signalling improvements.

This means all work necessary for a link between Ebbw Vale and Newport will be completed by 2010.

Mr Wyn Jones said: “My decision to invest in these improvements at Newport follows careful consideration of a report submitted by Network Rail.

“This investment is an essential prerequisite to any future regular passenger rail service between Ebbw Vale and Newport.”

The news has been welcomed by Blaenau Gwent’s Independent AM Trish Law, a long-time campaigner for an Ebbw Vale to Newport link.

Mrs Law said it was fantastic news that the service would be completed in time for the Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor and the National Eisteddfod in Ebbw Vale in 2010.

She added: “The Newport link will be a huge boost to people in my constituency, many of whom look more to Newport than Cardiff, and I have many constituents who work in Newport.”

Mrs Law said she had already written to Ieuan Wyn Jones urging him to complete the missing link by extending the line at Ebbw Vale Parkway to the Corus site where the Eisteddfod will be held in 2010.

She said: “I would like to see these last couple of miles of track laid in time for the Eisteddfod. It would be fantastic to be able to transport people from Cardiff and Newport straight to the Maes.

“That would just leave the link to Abertillery and I will continue to press for an early start on that.”

Blaenau Gwent MP Dai Davies said the link to Newport would open up many new opportunities.

He said: “It will extend the horizons of people looking for work and provide more travel choice.”
 

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Rock Lord
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Excellent news and doesn't it just support the case for the reoppening of so many other close railway lines across the UK.

Well done the people of Ebbw Vale for using it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Excellent news and doesn't it just support the case for the reoppening of so many other close railway lines across the UK.
Absolutely. Personally I would like to see the Abergavenny to Merthyr line reopened to link the valley lines. Currently cross-valley commuting by rail is out of the question with Cardiff being the only place the lines meet. I can dream at least!
 

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Excellent news and doesn't it just support the case for the reoppening of so many other close railway lines across the UK.

Well done the people of Ebbw Vale for using it.
The reopening of many old railway stations are one of the Assembly's real success stories. It's certainly one I'm most proud of.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
A quick picture update of construction at the Works. The Aneurin Bevan Hospital is the zigzag building in the middle on the picture.



I took this from Y Domen Fawr on yesterday's beautifully sunny afternoon.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Bringing this thread back from the dead to show the great progress that has been made at the Works over the last few years.

The restored General Offices reopened in 2011, housing the Steelworks museum as well as the Gwent Archives in a new extension.










The new Coleg Gwent and Ebbw Fawr Learning Community (all-through school for ages 3-16) opened last September.








The sports centre opened two weeks ago. The second photo is taken from the free 500-space multi storey car park.



 

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Looking great:cheers:
 

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Looking great.Nice to see some update pictures of this key S.Wales site.
 
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