New hope for stranded village as rail bosses visit

A village left stranded because of a faulty railway bridge is hoping that a high-level visit by Network Rail officials will resolve the problem.

Villagers at Sydallt near Wrexham have been left without a bus service because the Oak Alyn railway bridge connecting the village has been narrowed because of fears for the structure.

The bus being used for the service between Mold and Wrexham was too wide to negotiate the narrowed bridge and re-routed the service, leaving villagers without public transport. Some villagers have been forced to use taxis at a cost of up to £150 a month because there is no bus.

Gwersyllt Community Council took up the matter after concerns were raised by Councillor Sharon Thomas and contacted Plaid Cymru’s regional AM Llyr Gruffydd.

He, in turn, raised the matter with Network Rail’s senior management team in Cardiff, who came out on Friday to see the problem for themselves.

Llyr Gruffydd said, “I’m glad senior managers have seen the problem for themselves and local residents were able to explain to them directly how this issue has impacted on the community. There was agreement that Network Rail needed to do some exploratory work to assess how sound the structure was and, if necessary, to re-prioritise its bridge maintenance programme.

“We were given assurances that an engineer would carry out an intrusive survey to assess corrosion on the bridge and that could see the bridge deemed safe enough to widen again. This would enable the bus currently being used for the Mold-Wrexham service to come back to Sydallt.

“I’ll be working with Gwersyllt councillors Sharon Thomas, Gwenfair Jones and Arfon Jones to make sure the promises made are kept and work begins as soon as possible on the bridge.”

Community councillor Sharon Thomas added, “I was thankful for the opportunity of a meeting with Network Rail and Wrexham Council on the bridge following the ongoing support of Gwersyllt Community Council, Llyr Gruffydd and Plaid Cymru on this issue. I was also keen for local residents and bus users to be directly involved and given the opportunity to have their say on this matter.

“Following the positive meeting that took place I look forward to the joint work on the bridge and surrounding area taking place between Network Rail and Wrexham Council to bring about much-needed improvements, and enable the current bus service to access Tan yr Allt again. I hope the work will commence sooner rather than later, so local residents are not inconvenienced any longer than is necessary.”

From left: Sam Hadley, Dan Hughes, Cllr Gwenfair Jones, James Woodison, Network Rail’s Wales and Marches assets director Geoff Davies, local resident Percy Matthias, Roger Davies of Wrexham Council, Gary Vickerman, chair of Gwersyllt Community Council Arfon Jones, Llyr Gruffydd AM, Gail Hughes and local community councillor Sharon Thomas.

 

 

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