All signals go: new world-class rail testing centre given green light
A new world-class rail testing facility on a former opencast mining site at the head of the Dulais and Swansea valleys has been given the seal of approval by local councillors.
The Global Centre of Rail Excellence, a train, rail infrastructure and technology testing facility, will be located on the site of Nant Helen opencast mine in Onllwyn, which is currently operated by Celtic Energy.
The centre will provide a unique capability in the UK and Europe. It will support innovation in the UK and international rail industry by serving as a testbed for cutting-edge, green technologies, which will act as a driver for accelerated innovation in the rail industry.
It will put Wales on the map as the go-to country for UK and international train manufacturers, network operators, the wider industry, supply chain and academia, to research, test and develop innovative new technologies that underpin de-carbonisation and development for the global rail industry. It will also be a magnet project for further new opportunities, bringing more quality jobs and investment to our communities.
The Welsh Government has developed the idea for the centre from scratch and has engaged with experts from across the global rail industry to bring it to this point. In a further sign of the Welsh Government’s confidence in the project, it is investing £50 million to support the delivery of the new facility. The UK Government has also pledged to invest £30 million in the project.
Members of the planning committees at Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and Powys County Council have this week given the project the final go-ahead.
Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said:
I’m delighted the new Global Centre of Rail Excellence in Onllwyn has been granted planning permission by Councillors at Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and Powys County Council.
The new centre will help create the next generation of high quality jobs, attracting new investment and opportunities for local people, driving new technologies and innovation, and helping us to realise our ambition of creating a stronger and more prosperous economy, in a greener, cleaner and stronger Wales.
The Welsh Government’s commitment to developing this world-class facility is clear. We’ve have made £50 million available to bring this important facility to the Dulais and Swansea valleys, as part of wider plans to transform valley communities.
I’m very much looking forward to seeing the project progressing at pace over the coming months.
The Welsh Government has been working in partnership with Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and Powys County Council to develop proposals for the GCRE. A joint venture was established in 2019 between Welsh Government and both Powys and Neath Port Talbot councils to support project development and delivery. The proposals are the result of collaborative working with partners and extensive engagement and consultation with stakeholders and local communities.
A land option deal has been completed for the sites at the Nant Helen surface mine and Onllwyn coal washery, which will see Celtic Energy gift all the land necessary for the project.
Latest News from
Welsh Government helping to make children veg chomp-ions23/02/2024 14:05:00
Eat Them to Defeat them returns for its sixth year, to make veg fun, improve diets and increase children’s intake of vegetables by chomping away.
First Minister announces St David Awards 2024 finalists23/02/2024 10:15:00
First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced the finalists of this year’s St David Awards at an event at the Senedd.
Health Minister response to latest NHS Wales performance data – December 2023 and January 202422/02/2024 15:15:00
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan, has issued a statement on the latest NHS Wales performance data published today.
Keeping Farmers Farming. Make sure we know your views - we are listening22/02/2024 14:20:00
As the consultation on the Sustainable Farming Scheme enters its final two weeks the Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths is urging people to take part in the consultation and make sure their views are heard.
More than £14m to improve emergency department at the Grange hospital22/02/2024 13:20:00
More than £14 million is being invested by the Welsh Government to extend and reconfigure parts of the Grange University Hospital emergency department, Health Minister Eluned Morgan has officially announced.
‘We must improve education around menstrual cycles in schools’ vows Deputy Minister for Social Partnership22/02/2024 11:05:00
‘More must be done to improving education around menstrual cycles if we are going to tackle period dignity in schools,’ Deputy Minister for Social Partnership Hannah Blythyn has vowed.
Extra funding to upgrade NHS Wales digital services and equipment21/02/2024 15:15:00
The NHS will benefit from £10 million in additional capital funding to upgrade scanning equipment and digital infrastructure.
Welsh language better prepared for artificial intelligence developments, thanks to Welsh Government investment21/02/2024 09:05:00
The Welsh Government has supported ground-breaking work to secure a more prominent place for the Welsh language in the technology we use every day.
Strategy takes new, broad approach to supporting mental health20/02/2024 16:05:00
Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing launches the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and the Suicide and Self-harm Strategy for consultation.
More than 900 workers sitting comfortably following Welsh Government support for business growth20/02/2024 14:05:00
A business that designs, manufactures and maintains first and business class aircraft seating is investing for the future at its sites in Newport and Cwmbran, after Welsh Government funding helped support more than 900 existing jobs and further workforce growth.