Posted 9th August 2021 | 4 Comments

Green light for new Welsh rail testing centre

A NEW 'world-class' rail test centre in south Wales on a former opencast mining site at the head of the Dulais and Swansea valleys has been given the seal of approval by local councillors.

The Global Centre of Rail Excellence – a train, rail infrastructure and technology testing base – will be on the site of Nant Helen opencast mine in Onllwyn, which is currently operated by Celtic Energy.

The centre is intended to support innovation in this country and overseas by serving as a testbed for green technologies.

Welsh economy minister Vaughan Gething said: 'I’m delighted the new Global Centre of Rail Excellence in Onllwyn has been granted planning permission by Councillors at Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and Powys County Council.

'The new centre will help create the next generation of high quality jobs, attracting new investment and opportunities for local people, driving new technologies and innovation, and helping us to realise our ambition of creating a stronger and more prosperous economy, in a greener, cleaner and stronger Wales.

'The Welsh Government’s commitment to developing this world-class facility is clear. We’ve made £50 million available to bring this important facility to the Dulais and Swansea valleys, as part of wider plans to transform valley communities.

'I’m very much looking forward to seeing the project progressing over the coming months.'

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • jimmy austin, Thame

    It's about the type of testing they plan to do there. The proposed design is a circular test track, like Velim in the Czech Rep, that would allow easier mileage accumulation runs as you don't have to change cabs every 30mins. Doing high speed testing is also an issue on heritage routes as the track isn't maintained to the required standard for 60+mph running.

  • Andrew Gwilt, Benfleet Essex

    That is wonderful news. New jobs created and a new era of transportation in Wales.

  • Philip Russell , Carlisle

    I’m all for rail investment but don’t we already have a test track at Old Dalby? , & if extra capacity is occasionally needed wouldn’t it be more cost effective to hire out some of the longer preserved lines ? who I’m sure would appreciate some extra income at quieter times , post Covid ,

  • Richard Chapman, Abercrave

    At last some good news for the area, local jobs, quality jobs, lets hope there are no more delays.