MPs hear case for £1bn plan to boost rail links between Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales

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

A £1bn campaign to improve rail links between Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales has put its case to MPs.

Leaders of the Growth Track 360 campaign gave evidence to members of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee inquiry into the Wales and Borders Rail Franchise in the House of Commons.

They urged parliamentarians to support better train services that will help local people get to where they want to be whether for work, leisure or study.

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.

If successful, it would lead to a massive boost to the Liverpool city region, North Wales and Cheshire economies.

Chair of the North Wales and Mersey Dee Cross-Border Rail Task Force, Cllr Samantha Dixon, joined Ashley Rogers, chair of North Wales Business Council, and Iwan Prys Jones, programme manager, North Wales Economic Ambition Board to present at the Parliamentary inquiry.

Chair of the North Wales and Mersey Dee Cross-Border Rail Task Force, Cllr Samantha Dixon
Chair of the North Wales and Mersey Dee Cross-Border Rail Task Force, Cllr Samantha Dixon

The NW&MD Rail Task Force, which includes political and public sector leaders and representatives from business, has been created to identify and promote rail improvements across North Wales and the cross border region.

The task force has produced the Growth Track 360 Rail Prospectus which sets out a vision for £1bn of rail investment in the cross border region which would deliver 70,000 new jobs and increase the area’s gross value added (GVA) to £50bn.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has given his backing to the campaign.

Councillor Dixon said: “One of the Growth Track 360 campaign’s key aims is to achieve an integrated rail network for the single region, which serves nearly a million people.

“This will need careful, innovative management, so we also need to see provision for this within the next franchise.”

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