THE Welsh Government transport minister says he supports plans to open a new railway station in Pontrilas.

The old village station served the community for nearly 100 years but was taken away following the restructuring of the railway system in the last century.

Local councillors have since been campaigning to open a parkway station between Hereford and Abergavenny.

They say a new station in the village would serve up to 500 passengers a day and could carry freight for local industry such as Pontrilas Timber and Black Mountain Quarries.

And now the campaign has received the support of the Welsh Government’s Economy and Transport minister Ken Skates.

Mr Skates said in a letter to transport secretary Grant Shapps that he would be happy for trains travelling to and from Wales to stop at the station if needed.

“The station could serve as a rural parkway supporting access into Hereford and South Wales, reducing the need for longer distance travel, removing congestion in urban centres and improving cross-border connectivity," he said.

“In addition, the facility would also support tourism and access to rural communities including the Golden Valley and Hay-on-Wye.

“As Pontrilas is in England, any decision on funding and delivering a new station would clearly be the responsibility of the UK Government and you will want to understand the potential costs and benefits of a new station through the business case process.

“Although the demand at Pontrilas may not result in the strongest economic or financial case for a new station, the benefits for improving connectivity for more rural and remote regions, particularly by public transport, aligns with our own objectives and priorities.

“I would therefore like to offer the Welsh Government’s support for this new station and, subject to operational and capacity considerations, would be happy for Transport for Wales rail services to stop at this station if required.”

Hereford and South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman said he was delighted that Mr Skates is backing the campaign.

“The Government has announced its intention to replace some of the lines lost to the Beeching cuts in the 1960s,” he said.

“We will be taking the campaign to Westminster to seek ministerial support for this important project.”

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