South Wales is set to get a £100M rail testing facility, the Welsh Government has announced.
The centre will have an innovation accelerator and be equipped for rolling stock and infrastructure testing, storage, decommissioning, maintenance and serving asset to the industry and the wider supply-chain.
The decision comes after it was announced that KeolisAmey will oversee the 15-year £5bn Wales and Borders franchise, which includes the construction of the South Wales Metro. The joint venture between France’s Keolis and Spanish-owned Amey has since announced that it will move its global rail headquarters to Wales.
Welsh Government transport secretary Ken Skates said: “Last year, Welsh Government and CAF announced the first modern train manufacturing facility to be built here. The factory is nearing completion, and trains for use in Wales will soon be built there.
“Earlier this month I announced details of the new, transformative, low carbon Wales and Borders rail service.
“From a standing start a few years ago, Wales is now developing as a home for our domestic rail industry. There is more we can do. I want our country recognised across the UK and Europe as a major hub. Our Economic Action Plan signalled a new approach to creating opportunities for developing our economy. I’m now signalling the next chapter of implementation of that plan.”
The preferred site for the centre is the mothballed open cast mine in Nant Helen, on the Powys and Neath Port Talbot border and the nearby operational coal-washery
“This area, at the top of the Dulas Valley, has been reliant on the coal industry for generations. With this era drawing to a close, there is great potential for investment drawing on existing and new skills,” Skates added.
“I have therefore instructed Welsh Government officials to move to the next stage of business case development, which will involve continued and close partnership working.
“We estimate a bespoke facility like this will cost £100M to deliver, and it is not a project that can proceed without local support, private sector investment and the commitment of manufacturers, rolling stock companies, network operators and a range of other stakeholders to back it now and into the future.”
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