HC Deb 01 March 1993 vol 220 cc8-9
7. Dr. Kim Howells

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he last met representatives of British Rail's valleys line network to discuss investment.

Sir Wyn Roberts

The Cardiff-valleys network was one of the issues that my right hon. Friend discussed with the chairman of British Rail and his regional railways director when they met on 7 September last.

Dr. Howells

Does the Minister recognise that the huge growth in vehicle traffic over the past 20 years or so has made many of our key trunk roads congested, dangerous and often the source of major pollution of the atmosphere? Will he ensure that our extensive rail networks are employed to their fullest extent and that adequate investment is made available to make them user-friendly and efficient so that we can get traffic off the roads and back on to the railways, where it should be?

Sir Wyn Roberts

The hon. Gentleman will know that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave supplementary credit approvals totalling £3.56 million to Mid and South Glamorgan for funding major investment projects in the valleys network. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that we want to take traffic off the road and we are investigating the position of the A470 between Pontypridd and Coryton. We are looking at the possibilities of investment in rail to cover the increased use of that area and of that road in particular.

Mr. Sweeney

What are the prospects for a link between the valleys network and Cardiff bay? Secondly, is there any hope of getting a link with the Cardiff Wales airport?

Sir Wyn Roberts

My Department is supporting a study, commissioned by South Glamorgan county council in conjunction with other local authorities, British Rail and the Cardiff Bay development corporation, into options, including a light rail system, for improved public transport links between the valleys and Cardiff bay. The railway to Rhoose airport is a matter for South Glamorgan county council, which has discussed it with British Rail, but there has been no positive decision.

Mr. Rogers

Surely the Minister recognises that the valleys line is in a deplorable state, with trains running late and crowded. Often, the service is not available. When, as valley Members, we take up the issue with British Rail, its answer is that stock has had to be transferred to lines outside Wales because of general shortages. Will the Minister take up immediately with the relevant controllers of British Rail the matter of stealing railway stock from Wales and transferring it to England?

Sir Wyn Roberts

I shall consider and investigate what the hon. Gentleman has said. He will know as well as I do that operational matters are for British Rail rather than for me.

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