AN OUTLINE business case has been submitted for a new test track in south west Wales, while local approval has been received for the land required for the facility.

The Global Centre of Rail Excellence is to be built at the mothballed opencast mine at Nant Helen and the nearby coal washery site at Onllwyn. Proposed facilities include a 6.9km 110mph test track with overhead line electrification, a tunnel for high pressure testing, a 4.5km high tonnage infrastructure test loop, a platform and station environment, as well as research and development, education and training facilities and staff facilities.

In late July Powys County Council and Neath Port Talbot approved consent for the earthworks for the facility, while the Welsh Government has submitted the outline business case to the UK Government setting out the delivery programme and next steps. A planned three-stage construction programme would see the first phase operational by 2023 and the site fully complete by 2025.