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Green light for new Welsh rail testing centre

A NEW ‘world-class’ rail test centre in south Wales on a former opencast mining site at the head of the Dulais and Swansea valleys has been given the seal of approval by local councillors.

The Global Centre of Rail Excellence – a train, rail infrastructure and technology testing base – will be on the site of Nant Helen opencast mine in Onllwyn, which is currently operated by Celtic Energy.

The centre is intended to support innovation in this country and overseas by serving as a testbed for green technologies.

Welsh economy minister Vaughan Gething said: ‘I’m delighted the new Global Centre of Rail Excellence in Onllwyn has been granted planning permission by Councillors at Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and Powys County Council.

‘The new centre will help create the next generation of high quality jobs, attracting new investment and opportunities for local people, driving new technologies and innovation, and helping us to realise our ambition of creating a stronger and more prosperous economy, in a greener, cleaner and stronger Wales.

‘The Welsh Government’s commitment to developing this world-class facility is clear. We’ve have made £50m available to bring this important facility to the Dulais and Swansea valleys, as part of wider plans to transform valley communities.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing the project progressing over the coming months.’

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