Cefn Railway Station 2018 Proposal

A proposal for a new Railway Station at Cefn Mawr

A railway station at Cefn Mawr enclosed in a tunnel holds distinct advantages for the Cefn & Cefn Mawr, the Pontcysyllte World Heritage Site, the Dee Valley AONB, South Wrexham and North East Wales, ranging from new access roads for Tesco at Cefn Mawr, a 24 hour Tesco Service Station, a mini bus terminus serving the Pontcysyllte WHS corridor coordinated with trains, a large free park and ride facility with train station access to other areas. An additional 1300 square meters of land and good access could be used to attract high tech companies to the existing Rhosymedry Industrial Estate that would become available for development, providing many more jobs for our local community. This is sustainable development in accordance with WAG Planning Policy rather than further mixed-use development and even more supermarkets.

A small bus terminus and mini bus service coordinated with the train time table serving, Cefn Mawr and all the villages of the Cefn, the Pontcysyllte World Heritage Site, Dee Valley AONB, and South Wrexham, much like the MRT system in Singapore but at a fraction of the cost. This is a practical application of sustainable development.

A railway station at Cefn Mawr would provide Tesco with the opportunity for a new 24-hour Service Station on the B5605. Full use of an integrated transport systems should be made which will help encourage more people to use public transport and the train alleviating road congestion on the A483, A 539 & A5.

Large capacity Park & Ride facilities for people that want to travel to other areas such as Wrexham, Chester, Shrewsbury or further afield without the hassle of road congestion. This would provide a significant step forward in encouraging people to use public transport as opposed to adding to the congestion on the A483. As a further look into the future for this type parking could be fitted with charging points for electric vehicles that would have the time to be charged while the owner is on public transport to other areas or frequenting the Cefn & Cefn Mawr. The Park & Ride car park would have a smart power management system and public information facility.

Vehicle charging points for residents of the Dee Valley and South Wrexham. While owners use public transport for longer distance travel, i.e. the train their vehicle is charged the owner receives a text message when fully charged ready for their return, this is integrated transport.

Large capacity secure cycle storage adjacent to the station would encourage a far greater number of our people to use the railway station and be a very practical application of the Active Travel Wales policy by the Welsh Assembly Government. It is also worth noting that active travel plans have been produced for both Ruabon and Chirk but none for Cefn Mawr. Furthermore, these active travel plans by WCBC are rather pointless as there is no provision made for cycle storage where it is needed.

Good transport links with North Wales and the UK would help stimulate interest and growth that would attract high technology industry to the area improving job prospects for our local people. This would help offset the decline in employment since the closure of Monsanto and Air Products, the only main employers in the Cefn at the centre of the Pontcysyllte World Heritage Site which has left our community with one of the highest unemployment figures in North East Wales.

Tesco Cefn Mawr is currently one of the most successful stores in NE Wales with a head count of almost 500,000 annually, without a railway station. A railway station immediately next to the store will only serve to increase this annual head count and prove the potential of the site at the centre of our community. This should be cultivated and built up on. Most of our town centres in the UK have gradually been destroyed over the past 40 years by outside satellite retail parks granted indiscriminate planning permission by the prevailing county councils. Cefn Mawr is unique because the centre is still alive and can be made a lot more of if WCBC is willing.

A railway station in Cefn Mawr could provide an alternative road route for Tesco Lorries other than driving through Rhosymedry, hence increasing road safety and improving the residential environment.

Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT) and the Tesco Distribution Centre

Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT) and the Tesco Distribution Centre

Cefn Community Council and the petition for a new medical centre at the old Co-Op Supermarket site in Cefn Mawr. The group is headed by Ken Skates the Transport Minister for Wales and this site offers an ideal opportunity to combine public health with public transport being only a short walk from where Cefn Railway Station would be and at the centre of our community. This would directly support WAG policy for Sustainable Development and a Healthier Wales.

Llangollen, Chirk and Cefn Mawr Health Centres

Demography

 

Despite Cefn Mawr and the Cefn having a population equal to Llangollen and Chirk combined we have the poorest medical health facilities?

 

Populations from 2011 Census

  • Cefn Mawr = 7000
  • Chirk = 4000
  • Llangollen = 3500

 

Please note Llangollen also include villages of Garth, Trevor, Pontcysyllte, and Froncysyllte?

 

If the true immediate population of the Cefn (blue circle) at the central section of the Pontcysyllte World Heritage Site Corridor of Cefn Mawr and surrounding villages is taken into account this easily outnumbers the populations of Llangollen and Chirk combined.

 

So, the question must be asked, why do our people get such a poor deal?

Combining a new Medical Facility at Cefn Mawr with a Railway Station and Bus Terminus could therefore not only serve the local community of the Cefn which it would be central to, but also a much wider community. Both the bus terminus and the railway station would be within a short walking distance with full DDA access. This catering for the needs of our people in practical ways will spur use of available services unlike the current situation of Public Transport.

Arriva Train Service crossing the Cefn Viaduct. Arriva rail services run to Birmingham, Cardiff and Manchester Airports as well as cities and Liverpool Airport can accessed via Mersey Rail from Chester. A railway new railway station at Cefn Mawr simply gives national and international access for our community, the Dee Valley and South Wrexham. It will also serve to bring many people to our community and the Pontcysyllte World Heritage Site so boosting the tourist potential for the whole area and our local economy. If you think all this make sense and like it, then please like us of face book, three and a half thousand people already have. https://www.facebook.com/plaskynastoncanalgroup

By housing the Railway Station for Cefn Mawr in a tunnel adjacent to the Tesco Store which is perfectly feasible since the railway is in a deep cutting as the three bridges and Tesco car park prove, this would realise a large area of land (1300ms) that could then be used for a bus terminus and mini bus service timed to coordinate with train services, a large park and ride facility with charging points, a significant extension of the Industrial estate and good access to medical facilities. Note this tunnel was specifically built for the Tesco store and car park on top of it at Gerrard’s Cross.

Trains run in a cutting deep enough to house a railway station in a tunnel between Rhosymedry Industrial Estate and the village centre of Cefn Mawr, immediately next to the Tesco store and the premium location for a new Medical Facility at the old Co-Op Supermarket. This is central to Cefn Mawr and the surrounding villages of the Cefn at the centre of the Pontcysyllte World Heritage Site Corridor. A tunnel would coincidentally help stabilise the Tesco car park which has proved problematic since construction of the store in 2013/14.

The railway bridge at Rhosymedre over the railway line clearly showing the depth of the cutting at this point. The Tesco store is on the far side of the bridge on the left-hand side of the track.

The cutting with the Tesco Store and old Co-Op Supermarket site on the right-hand side of the cutting looking back towards the Cefn Viaduct from the Rhosymedre Bridge.

Demand for Rail Services & Network Rail Welsh Route Study 2015

 

In developing the 2015 Welsh Route Study, the role that rail can play in improving connectivity between North Wales/Wrexham and Liverpool/Manchester has been highlighted as one of high strategic importance. The economies of North Wales, Deeside, Merseyside and Manchester are closely linked and the road networks in this part of the country are operating at over capacity during peak times.

 

As part of a range of transport improvements in the North West, UK Government has recently announced plans to enhance the Halton Curve to enable operation of regular direct train services between Liverpool, Wrexham and North Wales. Since the 2015 Route Study £44M has been invested in line improvements between Chester and Wrexham. Again, we need to make the most of this opportunity.

Shrewsbury to Chester service frequency forecast 2019 – 2043

 

Future of Rail

 

The rail network provides an important means of connectivity serving the needs of local businesses, people and communities. Good access to the rail network and connectivity with local, regional and national destinations plays an important role in helping to stimulate and drive economic growth.

 

Rail passenger demand throughout the UK continues to rise and this no more evident than in Wrexham where rail usage over the last 10 years has grown significantly. This demand for travel is forecast to continue to grow and with this the expectations of rail users for improved services.

West Midlands Trains are expanding services from Shrewsbury to Birmingham and their depot at Shrewsbury because of increased rail usage of services all the way into London. Rail traffic is clearly on the increase and far cheaper than building more new roads as proved over the last 40 years.

Virgin Rail Service from Holly Head (Irish Traffic), Llandudno and Chester traveling down the West Coast Line, this may have to be re routed if HS2 goes ahead and if it was would certainly free up capacity along the main West Coast line between Crew and London.

The Shrewsbury London Virgin Service 2018 doing very well, what lies in between, our line, the Marchers Line. How long will it be before we see these services running down our line? If we have not built our new railway station, Cefn Station, we will literally miss the train.

There is a significant amount of work being undertaken at present in relation to the rail network both in Wales and England. This includes the provision of significant new rail infrastructure and changes to the way in which train services are managed and operated. It is anticipated that there will be significant change ahead with new opportunities to enhance network capacity, service frequency and improved connectivity between key local, regional and national destinations. Some of the more significant emerging areas of rail development that may influence the future of rail travel in Wrexham should include a new Railway Station at Cefn Mawr as proposed here in this document.

 

Note the growth of both the nearest railway stations to Cefn Mawr, Ruabon and Chirk on the Marcher Line. Both stations do not serve either community very well being out lying to the central focus of the communities with limited parking and not directly tied into any other facilities or local bus services. They are simply where they are as a left over from the original steam age when the priority was for rail freight and goods, not passengers.

 

Therefore, to spend yet more resources on such rather than building a new station at a known centre of population with a proven head count would be a very unwise decision by all concerned. A new Railway Station at Cefn Mawr simply represents the best value for money that could be asked for by all concerned from our local residents to the TOC’s, Train Operating Companies, the Local Authority WCBC and the WAG, Welsh Assembly Government.

A new Railway Station at Cefn Mawr represents a far cheaper, more efficient and environmentally friendly option to adding a third lane to the A483.

Chirk Railway Station is not in the centre of the community and is poorly served local bus services. £2M was recently spent adding a second bridge adjacent to a perfectly good bridge for DDA access despite the station being a long way away from the village centre and local populace. Chirk station is sighted where it is to tie with former Glyn Valley Tramway that served the Glyn Valley Slate Mines which closed over 60 years ago. So why are we still spending gross sums on this station and stating this as a reason for not building a new railway station at Cefn Mawr?

Welcome to Chirk Railway Station in the middle of nowhere, built for an age well gone by. The Glyn Valley Tramway Station was originally sited where it was to tie in with the Ellesmere Canal before the age of the railways! Hence when you arrive there now you are in the middle of nowhere.

Chirk Railway Station car parking, 34 slots not including the two disabled access slots. Note the car park is regularly full and will not be able to cope with increased demand in the coming years. Note the DDA bridge recently added to Chirk station at the cost of £2M, therefore this represents £1M per parking slot for DDA use and it is obvious how well this is used. There is talk of a similar scheme at Ruabon, where is the sense? A far more cost-effective solution is a new Railway Station at Cefn Mawr.

Ruabon Station is slightly better situated for the local populace than Chirk, but it is still not at the centre of commerce for the local community and local bus services must be diverted from the main route to serve the station. Car parking is limited, and maximum capacity was exceeded a number of years ago until WCBC introduced a new measure, parking meters, resulting in more people traveling by car again. This clearly disagrees with WPP Welsh Planning Policy by the WAG, Welsh Assembly Government and the FGA, Future Generations Act 2015 for sustainable development and promotion of public transport. Furthermore, the opportunity to extend parking facilities at Ruabon is severely restricted and expensive as the station is on an embankment crossing Ruabon Brook. Ruabon station is where it is because it was once the terminus and depot for the Ruabon to Barmouth line closed in the 1960’s under the Beaching cuts. Perhaps it is time to look at what is really ne and build a new Railway Station at Cefn Mawr rather than extend parking at Ruabon and more DDA facilities in no mans land.

WCBC solved the high demand for parking at Ruabon Station. They encouraged people not to use the trains and stay in their cars. This is not in agreement with Welsh Planning Policy (WPP) and the Welsh Transport Strategy (WTS) by WAG. This is not a sustainable approach to our transport needs.

PROVEN ROUTES TO SUCCESS

 

  • Ebbw Vale Line, South Wales, closed to passenger services in 1962 was reopened again in 2008 with the fist service from Cardiff to Ebbw Vale in 46 years. Since then the use of the line has been exceptional, far exceeding expectation.
     
  • Boarders Line in Scotland between Edinburgh, Galashiels and Tweedbank closed in 1969 as part of the Beaching cuts was reopened in 2015 after a closure of 46 years. Since reopening the line, passenger usage has far exceeded expectation.

 

What do both these lines share to make them successful?

 

Stations have been opened at appropriate locations for passengers, and not maintained as a left over from a previous era that has long since gone. Hence the case for a New Railway Station at Cefn Mawr next to Tesco, which will encourage far greater use of an existing railway line.

The Boarders Line in Scotland.

Stow Railway Station, on the Boarder Line in Scotland.

Gore Bridge Railway Station.

Galashiels Railway Station on the Boarders Line.

Ebbw Vale Railway Station in South Wales serving the local community. The population of Ebbw Vale Valley was 18,000 as of the census in 2011. Now although the Cefn only has a population of around 8500 including all the surrounding villages in the central section of the WHS, the total population a new Railway Station at Cefn Mawr would serve is far larger the that of Ebbw Vale when considering the Dee Valley as far as Bala and South Wrexham.

Cefn Mawr Railway Station - Proposal 2018
An updated proposal for a new Railway Station at Cefn Mawr to serve the Cefn, Pontcysyllte World Heritage Site, Dee Valley AONB and South Wrexham.
Cefn Mawr Railway Station - Proposal 201[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [6.0 MB]