Test centre in South Wales

THE WELSH Government has announced plans to build a new rail testing complex. It says the facility would become a ‘global centre of rail excellence’, which would offer a bespoke innovation accelerator, rolling stock and infrastructure testing, storage, decommissioning, maintenance and servicing asset to the industry and the wider supply chain.

A number of potential sites for the centre are still being researched, with the emerging preferred option being the mothballed open cast mine in Nant Helen, on the Powys and Neath Port Talbot border, and the adjacent and operational coal-washery site in Onllwyn. Welsh Transport Secretary Ken Skates said he has instructed officials to move to the next stage of business case development. The estimated cost of the facility is £100 million, and Mr Skates said this would be backed ‘through 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’.