The Welsh government says that a number of potential sites for the “Global Centre of Rail Excellence” are still being researched, but the mothballed open cast mine in Nant Helen, on the Powys and Neath Port Talbot border, and the adjacent and operational coal-washery site in Onllwyn, was looking likely as the preferred option.


“This area, at the top of the Dulais Valley, has been reliant on the coal industry for generations. With this era drawing to a close, there is great potential for investment drawing on existing and new skills,” says transport secretary Ken Skates.

“I have therefore instructed Welsh Government officials to move to the next stage of business case development, which will involve continued and close partnership working. We estimate a bespoke facility like this will cost £100m to deliver, and it is not a project that can proceed without local support, private sector investment and the commitment of manufacturers, rolling stock companies, network operators and a range of other stakeholders to back it now and into the future.”

The move comes a year after CAF announced it was building a rolling stock plant near Newport in South Wales. CAF has been awarded a contract by KeolisAmey to supply 148 DMUs for the new Wales & Borders franchise.