On 13 October, Alun Cairns was at the controls of the morning rush hour London to Cardiff train as the Secretary of State saw the latest work on electrifying the line.
The Secretary of State for Wales travelled in the driver’s cab to see electrification along the route - before getting off at the mouth of the Severn Tunnel to inspect the major upgrade work which has closed the tunnel for six weeks.
Mr Cairns highlighted the importance of transport links in a speech to the Institute of Directors in Cardiff.
I recognise the closure of the tunnel has been a challenge for many of us here, but it’s clear the benefits will vastly outweigh this short period. Electrifying the Great Western Main Line remains a top priority for this Government. It will be delivered.
Our £500 million contribution to the Cardiff City deal will support electrification of the Valley Lines railways.
Crossrail will enhance the shorter journey times offered by electrification of the mainline – bringing Cardiff closer to Canary Wharf.
And we’re investing to link Heathrow airport to the Great Western Mainline – cutting half an hour off the journey between Heathrow and South Wales.
But our investment doesn’t stop with rail.
Recognising the importance of the Severn Crossings to both Wales and the South West of England, we are halving the tolls once the Crossings are in public ownership. We are also scrapping the second category so that small goods vehicles will pay the same amount as cars.
And we will review the case for free-flowing tolls on the Crossings.