THE Great Western mainline to Swansea and further west to Pembroke Dock must be electrified and MPs must commit to it according to a Carmarthenshire MP.

Jonathan Edwards, MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, has called on both the Labour and Conservative parties to commit to the electrification of the line to Swansea and beyond in their manifestoes for the forthcoming general election.

Mr Edwards was the only Welsh MP to take part in a debate in the House of Commons on the future of the Great Western mainline earlier this month.

He said that savings from scrapping the HS2 northern leg should be redirected to finishing the electrification to Swansea and then further west to Carmarthen and Pembroke Dock, highlighting how electrifying just the section between London and Cardiff was a bone of contention for constituents in Carmarthenshire.

Mr Edwards said: “As I highlighted in the debate it is deeply regrettable that the recent electrification of the Great Western Mainline stopped in Cardiff, and the promises that had been made to the people of west Wales had been betrayed.

“When the investment in London and the south east is considered, we are offered a very bad deal in our part of the world by the UK Government. During the debate a whole host of Thames Valley MPs expressed their concern at the congestion on the rail network in their part of the world resulting from the success of the Elizabeth line which links west and east London. The new underground line already accounts for 1/6th of all rail journeys in the UK and connecting routes have become quickly overcrowded.

“The UK model of investing heavily in London and the south east of England will not help the productivity challenges the UK faces. Investment in high performing areas leads to less bang for the buck than directing funding to poorer performing areas.

“The scrapping of HS2 northern leg potentially frees up money, and during the debate I called on the rail minister to look at west Wales as an area for investment. With an election on the horizon the people of west Wale should look very carefully at what the political parties will be promising when it comes to investing in the rail network west of Cardiff.”

Mr Edwards believes that west Wales is perfectly located to be the main link between the UK and the fast-growing economy of the Republic of Ireland and a plan to electrify the mainline to Pembroke Dock could help to act as a stimulus and add to the Celtic Freeport and other initiatives.