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Council Leader welcomes progress on the £250m world-class rail testing centre at Onllwyn

Neath Port Talbot Council Leader Cllr Stephen Hunt has welcomed progress on the £250m Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE) during a visit to the site by Welsh Government Economy Minister Vaughan Gething.

Speaking at the site on Thursday, October 27th, Cllr Hunt said: “This is a transformational project for this area and I am delighted at the progress which has already been made with senior officials appointed, a fleet of test trains acquired and ground work under way.

“It will put this part of Wales on the map as the go-to country for UK and international train manufacturers, network operators, the wider industry and academics to research, test and develop the latest technologies in green transport for the global rail industry.

“It will also create jobs and is likely to be a catalyst for further new opportunities, bringing more quality jobs and investment to our communities.”

Situated on the former Nant Helen opencast site and Onllwyn Washery in Neath Port Talbot and stretching into neighbouring Powys, the 550 hectare facility will include two test loops, one being a 6.9km electrified high speed rolling stock track with a maximum speed of 177km/h and the other a 4km 65km/h test track.

Other facilities will include a dual-platform test environment, rolling stock storage and maintenance facilities, operations and control offices, staff accommodation, shunting staff facilities and connections to the nearby main line.

Education, training, visitor and conference facilities are all envisaged in the wider site.

Members of the planning committees at Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and Powys County Council gave the Welsh and UK Government funded project the go-ahead last year.
The Welsh Government developed the idea from scratch and worked with experts from across the global rail industry to bring it to this point.

The GCRE is inviting prospective supply chain partners and suppliers to attend a ‘meet the buyer’ event on Wednesday 2 November 2022 in Cardiff.