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Bangor and Caernarfon Back On Track

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Talks are underway to reopen the connecting rail line between Bangor and Caernarfon.
Filling in this gap would bring many more visitors to the town, and would result in shorter journeys.
In a 90 mile circle around North Wales – including through Snowdonia – this is the only line that is not active. Rail enthusiasts say that it makes no sense to have this area cut off, and that many would benefit from the station.
Caernarfon Railway closed in 1970 a short time after Prince Charles’ Investiture at Caernarfon Castle. Some of the original features, however, are still in place. New plans include building on these old track beds and creating an all-new station.
Plans have been drafted and discussed by members of the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway (F&WHR), who want to start this project as soon as possible. The area at the moment is being used as a cycleway.
To realise these plans there will have to be a lot of construction work to be completed, leading to a high cost; the final cost is yet to be released.
The station is planned to be situated in a car park near Morrisons. The space is in the perfect location, minutes away from the centre of town.
Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas has backed the plan, agreeing that it would give tourism in Caernarfon a well needed boost, adding that it would also provide many more travelling opportunities.
Not everyone, however, agrees that the station being built will make a difference to the town.
Adam Winson, a student at Bangor University who lives in Caernarfon, says “I see few benefits if there were a rail link, other than faster access to Bangor. It takes 30mins to get from Caernarfon to Bangor via bus which I don’t see as a problem. Not to mention the train journey would probably be more expensive anyway”
Despite these plans being well thought of by many, this isn’t the first time that this idea has come to light. National Rail worked on the plans for the first time in 1998 and at the time, the cost was looking at being around £16 million. Gwynedd council then agreed to the idea in 2010, though the plans soon came to an end. Developers worked out that the cost would be in excess of £20 million. Three years down the line, it is clear that the cost will have increased much more. Spokesmen from Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway suggested that the cost should be covered by £40 million.
Much like any development, all ideas need to be well thought out to ensure the benefit-to-cost ratio is balanced. Research will be undertaken to ensure that the town and the public would benefit from this extensive development.

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Charlotte Parker

News Editor 2013/14

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