Venue: Cyfarfod Rhithiol / Virtual Meeting. View directions
Contact: Lowri Haf Evans 01286 679 878
To accept any apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Mabon ap Gwynfor (Dwyfor Meirionnydd MS, Llio Hughes (Plaid Cymru Office Manager – Senedd Cymru), Ann Elias (Ceredigion County Council), Cllr Trevor Roberts (Aberystwyth/Shrewsbury Railway), Clare Williams (Cambrian Railway Partnership) and David Thorp (Ysgol Uwchradd Tywyn)
DECLARATION OF PERSONAL INTEREST
To receive any declaration of personal interest
No declarations of personal interest were received from any members present.
To note any items that are a matter of urgency in the view of the Chairman for consideration
None to notes
To Chairman shall propose that the minutes of the previous meeting of this committee, held on 18th November 2022, be signed as a true record
The Chair signed the minutes of the previous meeting of this committee, held on 18 November 2022, as a true record.
TO RECEIVE UPDATES FROM SERVICES
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Network Rail
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Transport for Wales
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>British Transport Police
Ben Perkins (Project Manager), Gareth Yates (Project Manager) and Sara Crombie (Network Rail Communications Manager) were welcomed to the meeting.
Update on upgrading Barmouth viaduct
Key images and facts were presented on the work undertaken on the viaduct and it was noted that the timber work had now been completed and the steel work was about to commence. It was noted that there would be no change to the design of the original bridge – new steel structures would be constructed by a company from Doncaster and these sections would be transported individually to Barmouth at the beginning of the summer. The bridge would close between 01-09-23 and 25-11-23 to complete the work (taking advantage while it was closed to complete additional repair work on the railway).
Update on Aberdyfi viaduct
It was reported that the structure of the Aberdyfi viaduct, like Barmouth viaduct, needed to be fully renovated and the work would be completed in two sections to avoid environmental disruption. The bridge would close between 01-09-23 and 31-10-23.
The officers were thanked for the update and the investment was appreciated locally.
In response to a question regarding enabling access to the Aberdyfi viaduct, it was noted that an access plan to the site had been approved. There would be access from the Ceredigion side of the estuary and discussions had already been held with landowners. In response to a further observation about re-directing the Coastal Path to go over the bridge rather than the mountains, it was noted that this was not possible as the bridge was too narrow.
In response to the disappointment that the bridge would close at the start of September which in turn would impact locally organised events during this period, it was noted, although accepting the impact on the holiday season and local events, a balance had to be struck between ecological access and the need for a period of 12 weeks to undertake the work (strict conditions on Dyfi viaduct due to protected geese).
In response to a comment regarding the bus provision during closure, it was noted that discussions were being held with Transport for Wales. Once the arrangements had been confirmed it would be possible to share the information. In response, it was noted that there was a need to ensure a sufficient bus service for local events e.g., Harlech Beer Festival.
There was a need to organise a meeting with Transport for Wales to discuss a sufficient bus provision.
In response to a question regarding the timeframe, accepting that the work is challenging, and weather conditions had an impact, it was noted that the weather had been factored into the timeframe and the construction of the steel work was proceeding well. It was added that the bridge would be transported in sections on the back of a lorry to the Morfa Madog site at the end of May with an exercise of bridge construction undertaken prior to this in Doncaster. It was confirmed that they were not ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To receive responses to questions received since the previous meeting:
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Llangylennin Community Council
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Llanbedr Community Council
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Criccieth Town Council
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>R Goodhew (Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth Rail Passengers Association)
Llangelynnin Community Council
Llangelynnin Community Council would like to ask the question to both Network Rail and any other relevant party as to when work may commence on Friog Hill A493 relating to the boundary wall/crash barrier as this had been scheduled to commence in Quarter 1 of 2023 which we are nearly at the end of. Traffic control has been in place now for some considerable time without any works having been undertaken.
Councillor Louise Hughes (Local Member) added that the situation had been a matter of concern for the area for nearly 10 years and although discussions and assessments had been completed, the work had not commenced.
Reply: NR was still committed to undertake the repair work to the wall on Allt Friog. However, some developments over the last few weeks had changed elements of the work they intended to undertake. It was evident, when looking at old documents, that a letter dating back to 1976 stated that NR continued to maintain the boundary wall, however, the crash barrier on the A493 was owned by Cyngor Gwynedd and therefore the Council was responsible for its maintenance. It was added that the NR Property Team had contacted Steffan Jones, Head of Cyngor Gwynedd Highways to try and discuss the matter. Although this will not affect NR's plans to repair the wall, it will change the scope of the work and therefore they would only undertake maintenance work on the assets within their ownership.
In terms of the process, it was noted that NR was completing the designs and reviewing the costs. Once sufficient funding had been secured to undertake the project a time schedule would have to be set to complete the work. It was suggested that a Teams or Zoom call should be held with representatives of the Fairbourne area – Llangelynnin Community Council, Arthog Community Council and Members of the appropriate wards to discuss the matter in greater detail with the NR Assets Team.
Councillor Dafydd Meurig (Cabinet Member for the Environment) noted that he would contact the Head of Highways, Engineering and YGC for an update from the Council's side.
Cllr Louise Hughes noted that she would welcome an invitation to a Teams / Zoom meeting to further discuss the matter and of her wish to be included in any further correspondence. She was also eager to invite the Cabinet Member for the Environment and the Cabinet Member for Highways, Engineering and YGC to a site visit.
Llanbedr Community Council
Question: We would like to know if, and when Llanbedr Train Station will be renovated. We are grateful that the station has been recently painted.
Transport for Wales reply (TfW): There was no update in relation to improving the facilities at Llanbedr station. All the stations had been included in an Integrated Plan and it was proposed to visit to complete the re-branding work, signage, and improvements to station assets i.e., seats, shelters etc. However, no funding had currently been allocated to proceed with this.