A village has been “permanently” cut off from its train station after a decision to close a bridge over Afon Conwy.
Network Rail recently spent around £1m on Dolgarrog railway station – with hopes improved facilities would help boost passenger numbers.
There were hopes the access road to the village would also be improved to encourage more people to use rail services – particularly with the Hilton Garden Inn hotel opening at Adventure Parc Snowdonia.
But Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water has now announced it plans to close the bridge that links the station and the village.
Aberconwy MS Janet Finch-Saunders has called for a public consultation before any final decision is made.
She said: “This bridge provides the only access route to Dolgarrog Railway Station from the beautiful village of Dolgarrog.
“Plainly, there is just no other alternative route for local residents. This objectionable decision by Welsh Water has effectively cut off an entire community from their railway station, which has just been subject to extensive repairs by Network Rail.”
Rhydian Owen said: “I use both the station and the path regularly in non-Covid times and the station has had £1million spent on it.
“The natural thing would be to formally link the station with Adventure Parc Snowdonia and the soon to open Hilton Garden Inn hotel by means of an active travel route (multi use cycle/pedestrian route).
“It would allow both locals and tourists to actually use the station for leisure and commute travel.
“As the Welsh Government naturally want to encourage more active and greener travel it makes sense that they intervene here to get all agencies working together to make the investment on the new station worth the money.
“Without the bridge open how can it be called Dolgarrog station as you would have to pass both Tal y Cafn or Llanrwst stations by car to get to it from Dolgarrog. Without the tourist footfall using the surf site, the usage will be very low as Maenan’s population is tiny.”
Imogen Brown, head of Water Distribution at Welsh Water, said: “We have an extensive network that helps us provide high quality and reliable water supply to customers.
“We routinely inspect our network to ensure it operates safely, and recent inspections of the pipe bridge in Dolgarrog identified safety issues linked to the ageing bridge.
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“This is why we have taken the necessary decision to close the bridge. We are carrying out further inspections of the underside of the bridge over the coming weeks.
“We appreciate the inconvenience that this may cause to local community and we would like to assure people that it isn’t a decision we have taken lightly.
“This bridge has never been a designated footpath or public right of way. It has always been in Welsh Water’s ownership and we only agreed with Conwy Council to allow it to be used as a walkway until such time as it would be needed to be terminated.
“The dangerous condition of the bridge means that we must close it as the safety of local users is our priority. We understand that this will disappoint local residents and walkers which is why we are willing to engage in discussions with relevant parties.”
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