PASSENGERS are being urged to check before they travel ahead of essential modernisation work between Cardiff and Newport this February.
The work forms part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan for Wales, to enable Great Western Railway’s new fleet of Intercity Express Trains to run between London and Cardiff on electricity, improving journeys for passengers.
Services between Cardiff and Newport will be reduced by an average of two trains an hour from February 12-25, with rail replacement buses operating for all services between Cardiff Central and Newport stations on February 17, 18 and 25.
Between February 12 and 25, engineers will be preparing the stretch of railway between the two cities for the equipment needed to power GWR’s new Intercity Express Trains, which will run on electricity from London to Cardiff. The work being delivered will include piling and post installation.
Cardiff residents are also reminded that Splott Road Bridge will be closed from February 4 – 27.
The original bridge, which connects Splott to Adamsdown, is too low to accommodate the overhead line equipment needed for trains running on electricity and, at 117 years old, the bridge has reached the end of its lifespan. It is being replaced with a new and improved structure, raised to give clearance for trains running on electricity, and strengthened to withstand modern city centre traffic.
Modernising the railway between London and Cardiff will provide more seats and better on-board facilities for passengers travelling between the two capital cities and beyond, with the new trains running between Cardiff and Swansea on diesel.
Steve Keighley, programme manager for Network Rail in Wales and Borders, said: “The new Intercity Express Trains, which run on both electric and diesel, will provide extra seats and better on-board facilities for thousands of passengers. We are working closely with our partners at Arriva Trains Wales and Great Western Railway to make sure people can still get where they need to be with a bus replacement service in operation during this essential upgrade work.
“We would like to thank passengers and residents for their patience during this improvement work and urge people to check before travelling.”
Bethan Jelfs, customer services director for Arriva Trains Wales said: “Investing in our infrastructure here in south Wales is vital to the long term future of our railway.
“We have been working closely with our partners in Network Rail to ensure as few passenger journeys as possible were affected by this.
“The work at Splott Road Bridge will mean some service changes between Cardiff and Newport and we would urge all our customers to check their journeys ahead of travelling.”
GWR development manager Wales, Mark Young man said: “New Intercity Express Trains have been operating between South Wales and London Paddington, since last October, providing as much as 24% more seats than the trains they have replaced.
“The electrification of the line between Cardiff and London will allow us to deliver the full benefit of these new trains, with more frequent, and quicker, journeys.”
More detail on rail services and replacement buses, as well as up to date journey information, can be found via www.nationalrail.co.uk or by calling Travel Line Cymru on 0800 464 0000.
Police trying to track stolen tanker
DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating the theft of a fuel tanker containing approximately 8,500 litres of diesel (4,000 litres of red diesel and 4,500 litres of white diesel).
The vehicle was taken from Tan Y Foel Quarry, Cefn Coch, Welshpool, between 5.30pm on Wednesday, May 23 and 6am on Thursday, May 24.
The police are asking people to see if the tanker is now in this area.
Anyone with information that can help officers with their investigation is asked to report it by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908, quoting Ref: DPP/0006/24/05/2018/01/C.
Reprogrammed virus offers hope as cancer treatment
A CANCER treatment that can completely destroy cancer cells without affecting healthy cells could soon be a possibility, thanks to research led by Cardiff University.
The team of researchers has successfully ‘trained’ a respiratory virus to recognise ovarian cancer and completely destroy it without infecting other cells. The reprogrammed virus could also be used to treat other cancers such as breast, pancreatic, lung and oral.
Dr Alan Parker from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine said: “Reprogrammed viruses are already being used in gene therapy procedures to treat a range of diseases, demonstrating they can be trained from being life-threatening into potentially lifesaving agents.
“In cancer treatment, up until now, reprogrammed viruses have not been able to selectively recognise only the cancer cells and would also infect healthy cells, resulting in unwanted side effects.
“We’ve taken a common, well-studied virus and completely redesigned it so that it can no longer attach to non-cancerous cells but instead seeks out a specific marker protein called αvβ6 integrin, which is unique to certain cancer cells, allowing it to invade them.
“In this case we introduced the reprogrammed virus to ovarian cancer which it successfully identified and destroyed.
“This is an exciting advance, offering real potential for patients with a variety of cancers.”
Once the virus enters the cancer cell it uses the cell’s machinery to replicate, producing many thousands of copies of itself, prior to bursting the cell and thereby destroying it in the process. The newly released viral copies can then bind and infect neighbouring cancer cells and repeat the same cycle, eventually removing the tumour mass altogether.
The virus also activates the body’s natural immune system, helping it to recognise and destroy the malignant cells.
The reprogrammed virus is from a group of respiratory viruses called adenoviruses. The advantage of using these viruses is that they are relatively easy to manipulate and have already been safely used in cancer treatment.
The technique used to reprogramme the virus to identify the protein common to ovarian, breast, pancreatic, lung and oral cancers could also be used to manipulate it so that it would recognise proteins common to other groups of cancers.
Additional refinement to the viral DNA could also allow the virus to produce anticancer drugs, such as antibodies, during the process of infecting cancer cells. This effectively turns the cancer into a factory producing drugs that will cause its own destruction.
The research was carried out in a laboratory, using mice with ovarian cancer, and has not yet reached clinical trials. The next step is to test the technique with other cancers, with a view to starting clinical trials in five years’ time.
Dr Catherine Pickworth from Cancer Research UK said: “It’s encouraging to see that this virus, which has been modified to recognise markers on cancer cells, has the ability to infect and kill ovarian cancer cells in the lab. Viruses are nature’s nanotechnology and harnessing their ability to hijack cells is an area of growing interest in cancer research.
“The next step will be more research to see if this could be a safe and effective strategy to use in people.”
The team includes researchers from Cardiff University; the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, USA; Glasgow University; the South West Wales Cancer Institute; and Velindre Cancer Centre.
The research was funded by Cancer Research UK, Tenovus Cancer Care and Cancer Research Wales.
The paper ‘Ad5NULL-A20 – a tropism-modified, αvβ6 integrin-selective oncolytic adenovirus for epithelial ovarian cancer therapies’ is published in Clinical Cancer Research.
Fly infestation sparks health fears
RESIDENTS in the New Dock area of Llanelli are ‘buzzing’ with anger as a result of a fly infestation which has been described as ‘absolute Hell’ by a local councillor.
Numerous causes have been suggested for the fly infestation, and Carmarthenshire County Council’s Environmental Health Department has visited the area this week.
Commenting on social media, one resident said: “There is nowhere in our home to sleep, eat or cook – the flies are everywhere.”
Glanymor County Councillor Louvain Roberts told The Herald that bungalows for OAPs in Stanley Street and Stanley Road were among the properties affected.
“The flies are absolutely everywhere and they’re huge. We had a problem last year but this year things have gone to extremes,” she remarked.
“We need some answers. This is affecting everyone including the young, old and vulnerable.”
Clos y Tafol residents Graham and Janet Tiencken said that the problem was putting their health at risk.
“Graham is currently on dialysis where he has to be aseptic for treatment,” Janet explained. “There’s no way he can be with the flies – how can he get treatment? We’ve all had enough now.
“I’ve even got footage on the problem and have had to buy so much equipment, it turns you off eating. I’ve purchased screens the lot. This is far from sanitary. We want answers, our health is seriously affected and it’s getting worse. Please help us.”
Town Councillor Sean Rees said: “Following a number of messages received from Glanymor residents about the fly infestation, I’ve asked for an update from public protection and environmental health. This is regarding current investigations being undertaken and whether the source of the problem has been identified yet. Something needs to be done. In the meantime, report flies publicprotection@
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