Rail travel from Carmarthenshire to neighbouring Ceredigion without having to face a massive detour through England is unlikely to happen for decades.

Currently anyone wanting to travel solely by rail from Carmarthenshire to Ceredigion faces an arduous journey via Shropshire and Powys just to visit its neighbouring county.

While Ammanford and the university town of Aberystwyth are just over 50 miles apart, the rail journey is some three times that.

It didn’t used to be that way; a line linking nearby Carmarthen and Aberystwyth existed up until the 1960s when it was a victim of the infamous Beeching cuts in February 1965.

Since then, there have been repeated calls to reopen the line, at a predicted cost of some £800m.

Back in 2020, West Wales Rail Campaign group Traws Link Cymru published a report with new research into the reopening of the Aberystwyth to Carmarthen railway.

The report, entitled ‘A Strategic Rail Corridor for west Wales’ came two years after the Welsh Government published its own feasibility study, citing no major obstacles to reopening, and that the new railway would cost approximately £775m.

The 2018 feasibility study broadly confirmed the findings of an initial scoping study of 2015, notably that 97 percent of the original trackbed was clear and that reopening was a realistic prospect.

But hopes of a reinstated railway line directly linking Carmarthen to Aberystwyth are unlikely to reach fruition in the next 30 or 40 years, Ceredigion councillors heard yesterday, April 5.

Members of Ceredigion County Council’s Thriving Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee were discussing walking and footpath schemes on old railway lines in the county, and considered the potential reopening of the line on such schemes.

Members, discussing potential use of the old line, heard that, despite “an aspiration to improve the railway links between Carmarthenshire and Aberystwyth,” the proposals were likely to take many years, effectively allowing any alternative use to enjoy a long usage.

Professor Stuart Cole CBE asked if there was any definitive answer from Welsh Government on whether the scheme would go ahead any time soon, estimating there was “no chance at all” of it reopening in “the next 40 years”.

Phil Jones, Corporate Manager Highways Services, said: “It is something we would like to have a definitive answer on because it is always in the back of our minds.

"But, I think for the purposes of expanding our active travel along these railway lines, if nothing’s going to happen in the next 30 or 40 years, the green light has been given for us to carry on with our proposals.”