Chester Zoo joins more than 400 businesses backing £1bn North West rail campaign

Growth Track 360 aims to secure Government funding to create new services between Liverpool and Liverpool John Lennon Airport to North Wales and Wrexham via Chester. Tony McDonough reports.

Growth Track 360 is a £1bn campaign to improve rail links in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales
Growth Track 360 is a £1bn campaign to improve rail links in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales

More than 400 companies and organisations in Merseyside, the North West and North Wales are backing a £1bn campaign to boost rail links across the region.

Growth Track 360 aims to secure Government funding to create new services between Liverpool and Liverpool John Lennon Airport to North Wales and Wrexham via Chester by reinstating the Halton Curve line.

It also wants the electrification of the line from Crewe to North Wales, linking it to HS2; the doubling of frequency of trains between the North Wales Coast Line and Wrexham to Manchester through Chester; investment in new trains; and doubling journey frequency between Wrexham and Liverpool via Deeside and Bidston.

The companies who have pledged their support for the campaign between them represent around 300,000 employees.

The online campaign to secure the investment needed to deliver change across the wider region’s rail services has been strongly backed by businesses, politicians and the general public.

Businesses say better rail services will help to deliver a faster rate of business growth and act as an economic driver for the regions.

The Growth Track 360 campaign is being driven by the North Wales and Mersey Dee Rail Task Force and has the backing of the region’s eight local authorities.

Among the companies backing the drive is Chester Zoo, one of the most popular paid-for tourist destinations in the UK.

Finance director Liz Carnie said: “Chester Zoo attracts 1.7m visitors each year.

“We work in partnership with transport operators to promote the use of sustainable public transport to our visitors.

Chester Zoo is backing Growth Track 360
Chester Zoo is backing Growth Track 360

“Improved rail services to Chester will ensure our current and future visitors view rail travel as a viable and attractive way of reaching the zoo and the city, which will deliver positive impacts to our city and our environment.”

Businesses cited different reasons for their support with more than 75% of bigger firms citing the time savings Growth Track 360 would deliver as their primary motivation for supporting the campaign.

And 64% of smaller businesses said the campaign would give them better access to customers. 

While around 54% of smaller companies also thought improved rail services would improve recruitment and help them to expand and create jobs.

People can still show their support for Growth Track 360 by signing up to the campaign online at www.growthtrack360.com

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