Today’s South Wales Echo leads with a story on our campaign against the proposed rail spur in the Vale of Glamorgan, written by chief reporter Martin Shipton:
PLANS to build a direct rail link to Cardiff Airport have been slammed as an expensive white elephant that would end up carrying just five passengers per train.
Stop the Spur, which has been set up to oppose the proposal, says the cost – put at at least £15m – should be used instead to improve existing train services in and around Cardiff.
The Vale of Glamorgan council has included the link in its local development plan and earlier this week transport expert Professor Stuart Cole said building a 1.5-mile spur to the airport from the Cardiff to Bridgend coastal line near Porthkerry would greatly improve accessibility to the airport.
But Save the Spur spokesman Tom Beardshaw, a social media expert who has been asked by residents in the Porthkerry area to help their campaign, said: “In our view a direct link to the airport would be a five passengers per train white elephant.”
Mr Beardshaw also disputed Prof Cole’s claim that a new rail link could give the airport “a definite advantage over Bristol Airport”, saying similar claims had been made before the coastal rail line was reopened to passengers in 2005.
Yet despite Bristol Airport having no rail link, its passenger numbers have increased significantly while Cardiff Airport’s have slumped.
Mr Beardshaw said: “At Stop the Spur we are against the link because it’s an expensive white elephant. It’ll cost £15m to build on Prof Cole’s figures and they may well prove optimistic.
“The railway network around Cardiff is creaking at the seams and urgently needs new investment. Every pound spent on the airport link is likely to be a pound less spent on the much more important commuter services to and from Cardiff. It’s particularly wasteful to build this line when the obvious option is to up the service frequency to Rhoose from hourly to two or three trains an hour at no extra capital cost and in doing so both improve the service to the airport and for the Vale Line commuters in Rhoose and Llantwit Major.” […]