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Hope grows over South Wales rail link

Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan has revealed she is “optimistic” over plans to electrify the main railway line between London and South Wales.

She said the scheme will be “crucial” to boosting the country’s economy and she is “continuously worried about how we are going to…restore our fortunes in Wales”.

Gillan explained that the Welsh Office had been lobbying the Department of Transport in an attempt to secure approval for the “vital” project to aid economic growth in Wales.

Following a question from Tory MP Jonathan Evans (Cardiff N), she said: “Whatever we are left with when an announcement is made, you can rest assured we have left no stone unturned in making the case for electrification into Wales”

And Gillan added: “I remain optimistic about a good outcome.”

Evans said that electrifying the 287km line would allow the Welsh economy to move away from its reliance on the public sector.

During Welsh questions in the Commons, he said while the Government was spending £14bn on British railways, it was important money was found for the £1bn electrification project.

Evans added: “We are going to see a rebalancing of the Welsh economy from the public sector with private sector jobs coming.

“We can’t have a situation in which the money is spent on high-speed rail and we don’t see electrification in Wales.”

Gillan said: “We appreciate that this is a very, very crucial and important project.”

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