The Tories want us to think that bi-mode trains are a good for Wales, but here’s the truth about the benefits of electrification.
Having a positive can-do attitude is essential as a new MP. I have made my disappointment very clear in the media about the Tories letting us down. They have failed to deliver electrification any further west than the capital city and instead of being branded a ‘Welsh whinger’ I just want to highlight WHY electrification is good for Gower, Swansea and further West.
This week, I pressed Sam Hadley from Network Rail on electrification and services to Swansea considering the Tory U turn on electrification. Welsh MPs and AMs now need to look forward and seek out ways to fund electrification. Having read the report by lead economist Gerry Haltham, we need to consider the options will deliver for Wales despite the Tory resistance to invest.
So why is electrification better? Electric trains offer the best train performance and lowest journey times compared to bi-mode trains. They give a low noise passenger environment, when the bi-mode train uses its diesel engine there will be increased noise for those in the train and those living along the railway. Currently the HST (High Speed Trains) have a diesel engine at both ends of the train unlike the diesel/electric bi-mode trains. So, the noise of the proposed bi-mode trains will be worse for passengers.
The Welsh Government has a low carbon transition delivery plan in which electrification would be a key feature. We should therefore be focused on leading the transition to low carbon – to lay the foundations for a better future and maximise the long-term benefits to Wales along the way. Therefore, electrification is part of reducing Wales’s dependency on oil and future oil variation.
We need to be looking at a more joined up approach to energy and our transport infrastructure in Wales. Electricity from renewable energy such as solar and tidal can provide for electric trains and cars across Wales. More significantly in my opinion for Wales, electrification opens potential for additional regional electric services to integrate not only Swansea and Cardiff but the rest of Wales.