Vale MP Alun Cairns hosted a packed out meeting at The Gathering Place in St Athan as hundreds of residents came together to learn about his ambitions for a train station.
Residents of St Athan showed up in large numbers to demonstrate their support for a new St Athan train station, which could be made possible after the UK Government launched a £500M fund to open new stations and rail lines closed during the Beeching reforms.
Mr Cairns has been a long-standing campaigner for a new train station at St Athan and advised those attending the meeting on how they can play their role in supporting the campaign. He called on local residents to write to the Welsh Transport Minister, Ken Skates asking him to include St Athan on his request list to the Department for Transport.
Speaking at the meeting, the Vale MP explained that the most important message is to get support for a scoping study. The Welsh Government plays an important role in identifying new stations for the UK Government and those present at the meeting were informed that a new station for St Athan was not listed on the Welsh Government’s request to the Department for Transport. He added, therefore, that there now must be a positive campaign to change this.
In terms of how the funding element would work, the Department for Transport would fund 75% of the cost of the scoping study and then the Welsh Government would need to fund the remaining 25%. There is also the possibility that the local authority could fund the 25%. This is expected to be a relatively modest sum.
Mr Cairns said, “At the meeting there was huge support from the local community. Now, it’s vital that we get support from the Welsh Government for the station. For everyone who wants to help the campaign, I have published advice on my website and Facebook page on what they should write. This should not to be used as an opportunity to criticise Cardiff Bay politicians, our priority is to change their mind so that we can deliver the project.”
He added, “A train station in St Athan is long overdue, which is why I am doing all that I can to ensure that it is delivered. The opening up of funds by the UK Government for stations provides us with the perfect opportunity to finally get this done and that’s why I am working at all levels of Government to make the case for St Athan.”
Suggested paragraphs are included on Alun’s website, aluncairns.com and his Facebook page.