Prime Minister offers support to £1bn city region 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

Prime Minster Theresa May has said she may be willing to back a £1bn campaign to boost rail links across 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 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.

Speaking in the House of Commons, the PM said he Department for Transport would work closely with campaigners and the Welsh Government to consider what can be accomplished as part of the campaign.

Click to read more about how hundreds of businesses are backing Growth Track 360

The campaign is being driven by the North Wales and Mersey Dee Rail Task Force (NW&MD) and has the backing of the region’s eight local authorities, the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, the Mersey Dee Alliance, the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, the North Wales Business Council and the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce.

Mrs May, who was responding to a question from Vale of Clwyd MP, Dr James Davies, said: “I welcome the establishment of the North Wales and Mersey Dee Rail Task Force and the work they are doing.

“The plan he mentions sets out an ambitious programme of rail improvements for the area and I’m sure they will prioritise the most promising options.

“The Department for Transport will continue to work closely with the Task Force and the Welsh Government to consider what can be jointly accomplished.”

Her comments were welcomed by the leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Samantha Dixon, who said: “Along with my colleagues on the Taskforce, I very much look forward to working with the UK Government and the Welsh Government to make the ambitious aspirations we have set out a reality as soon as possible.”

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