Posted: Wed 24th Jan 2024

Call for UK Government to back Network Rail’s plan to revamp Wrexham-Bidston line

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jan 24th, 2024

UK Government Ministers are being urged to adopt proposals put forward by Network Rail to resolve congestion on the Wrexham to Bidston, Borderlands Line.

The Office for Road and Rail (ORR) designated the Wrexham to Bidston Line congested infrastructure in August 2022 because it could not accommodate the proposal for two passenger trains per hour from Transport for Wales and hourly freight services to serve the Heidelberg Cement Works at Padeswood.

The ORR designation triggers a statutory process where Network Rail reviews the causes of congestion and makes recommendations to resolve them.ƒ

Network Rail’s “Capacity Enhancement Plan,” unveiled in the summer of 2023, outlines significant improvements to the Heidelberg Cement Padeswood Works Sidings.

This would allow longer trains to enter the works directly, eliminating the need to split and shunt loads – a process that currently obstructs the line for 40 minutes, hindering the introduction of more frequent, half-hourly passenger services.

Additionally, the plan includes enhancing signalling and line speeds, as well as bolstering safety measures at level crossings, thereby streamlining operations and ensuring a safer, more efficient rail network.

In October, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that £1 billion was being earmarked for electrification of the North Wales Coast Line, a figure Welsh Government’s Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said was “back of a fag packet stuff” and that “no development work has been done on the project”.

That £1bn figure – according to Rail Magazine – is based on a “now-defunct business case calculated in 2015, since when construction costs have increased by about 7% per annum – meaning that £1.5bn is more likely.”

In response to Lord Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review on road improvements and rail upgrades across the UK, Transport Secretary Mark Harper confirmed the £1 billion commitment to electrify the North Wales Main Line.

Business and local authority leaders from North Wales, the Wirral and Cheshire West and Chester in the Growth Track 360 partnership have welcomed the announcement but said some of the money should be used to upgrade the Borderlands Line.

Around £35m will be needed for work at Padeswood sidings.

Growth Track 360 Chair and Leader of Cheshire West & Chester Council, Councillor Louise Gittins, said:

“The Borderlands Line has fantastic potential by linking the cities of Wrexham in North Wales and Liverpool in England.”

“Recent business case studies based on developing direct services between Wrexham and Liverpool City Centres show a strongly positive return.”

“An improved interchange with the North Wales Coast Main Line at Shotton would also enable residents from Chester and the North Wales Coast to use the line to access Liverpool, Birkenhead, Wrexham and Deeside employment zones.”

“The allocation of £1bn capital for North Wales in the Network North Programme is an opportunity to invest in the transformation of the Borderlands Line from a neglected backwater line into a high value railway supporting connectivity and growth.”

“A £35m investment to upgrade the Padeswood sidings will start the improvement journey.”

Growth Track 360 Board Member and Deputy Leader of Wrexham Council, Councillor David Bithell, said:

“Transport for Wales have introduced 45-minute services on the Borderlands Line.”

“They are addressing reliability issues with their rolling stock.”

“Discussions have commenced with Merseyrail to reach an agreement for battery/electric trains on the Borderlands Line to access Liverpool Central in the future.”

“Heidelberg Cement are seeking more freight paths to take cement lorries off the roads and to transfer them to rail.”

“Local partners can see the long-term potential of the line.”

“GT360 urges the UK Government to join them and seize the moment by deploying funds from the Network North programme to increase capacity on the line.”

Ashley Rogers, GT360 Business Representative, Chief Executive, North Wales Mersey Dee Business Council, said:

“Fixing the causes of congested infrastructure on this line will be good for our businesses and our communities.”

“It will open up job opportunities for workers and better access for residents to key centres from Wrexham through to Deeside Industrial Park and onwards to Liverpool.”

“These improvements will also help to drive modal shift from road to public transport in North East Wales to reduce carbon emissions.”

“The lines’ development will increase usage and interchange with the North Wales Coast Main Line, enhancing the business case for electrification.”

“It’s very clear the investment for Borderlands will deliver positive economic, social and environmental returns.”

“Network North funding now offers the opportunity to deliver one of the best rail investments in the UK.”

 


UK Government Ministers are being urged to adopt proposals put forward by Network Rail to resolve congestion on the Wrexham to Bidston, Borderlands Line.

The Office for Road and Rail (ORR) designated the Wrexham to Bidston Line as congested infrastructure in August 2022 because it could not accommodate the proposal for two passenger trains per hour from Transport for Wales and hourly freight services to serve the Heidelberg Cement Works at Padeswood.

The ORR designation triggers a statutory process where Network Rail reviews the causes of congestion and makes recommendations to resolve them.

Network Rail’s “Capacity Enhancement Plan,” unveiled in the summer of 2023, outlines significant improvements to the Heidelberg Cement Padeswood Works Sidings.

This would allow longer trains to enter the works directly, eliminating the need to split and shunt loads – a process that currently obstructs the line for 40 minutes, hindering the introduction of more frequent, half-hourly passenger services.

Additionally, the plan includes enhancing signalling and line speeds, as well as bolstering safety measures at level crossings, thereby streamlining operations and ensuring a safer, more efficient rail network.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that £1 billion was being earmarked for the electrification of the North Wales Coast Line, a figure Welsh Government’s Economy Minister Vaughan Gething described as “back of a fag packet stuff” and stated that “no development work has been done on the project”.

That £1bn figure – according to Rail Magazine – is based on a “now-defunct business case calculated in 2015, since when construction costs have increased by about 7% per annum – meaning that £1.5bn is more likely.”

Transport Secretary Mark Harper has announced a number of projects in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland for exploring options to improve transport links that will strengthen connections across communities throughout the UK and help to drive tourism and grow the economy.

In response to Lord Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review on road improvements and rail upgrades across the UK, Transport Secretary Mark Harper confirmed the £1 billion commitment to electrify the North Wales Main Line.

Business and local authority leaders from North Wales, the Wirral, and Cheshire West and Chester in the Growth Track 360 partnership have welcomed the announcement but said some of the money should be used to upgrade the Borderlands Line.

Around £35m will be needed for work at Padeswood sidings.

Growth Track 360 Chair and Leader of Cheshire West & Chester Council, Councillor Louise Gittins, said: “The Borderlands Line has fantastic potential by linking the cities of Wrexham in North Wales and Liverpool in England.”

“Recent business case studies based on developing direct services between Wrexham and Liverpool City Centres show a strongly positive return.”

“An improved interchange with the North Wales Coast Main Line at Shotton would also enable residents from Chester and the North Wales Coast to use the line to access Liverpool, Birkenhead, Wrexham and Deeside employment zones.”

“The allocation of £1bn capital for North Wales in the Network North Programme is an opportunity to invest in the transformation of the Borderlands Line from a neglected backwater line into a high-value railway supporting connectivity and growth.”

“A £35m investment to upgrade the Padeswood sidings will start the improvement journey.”

Growth Track 360 Board Member and Deputy Leader of Wrexham Council, Councillor David Bithell, said: “Transport for Wales have introduced 45-minute services on the Borderlands Line.”

“They are addressing reliability issues with their rolling stock.”

“Discussions have commenced with Merseyrail to reach an agreement for battery/electric trains on the Borderlands Line to access Liverpool Central in the future.”

“Heidelberg Cement are seeking more freight paths to take cement lorries off the roads and to transfer them to rail.”

“Local partners can see the long-term potential of the line.”

“GT360 urges the UK Government to join them and seize the moment by deploying funds from the Network North programme to increase capacity on the line.”

Ashley Rogers, GT360 Business Representative, Chief Executive, North Wales Mersey Dee Business Council, said: “Fixing the causes of congested infrastructure on this line will be good for our businesses and our communities.”

“It will open up job opportunities for workers and better access for residents to key centres from Wrexham through to Deeside Industrial Park and onwards to Liverpool.”

“These improvements will also help to drive modal shift from road to public transport in North East Wales to reduce carbon emissions.”

“The line’s development will increase usage and interchange with the North Wales Coast Main Line, enhancing the business case for electrification.”

“It’s very clear the investment for Borderlands will deliver positive economic, social and environmental returns.”

“Network North funding now offers the opportunity to deliver one of the best rail investments in the UK.”

Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com
Latest News

  • Plans for 25-bedroom dementia unit at a Flintshire care home given green light.
  • Former landlord of Deeside pub sentenced to 24 years in prison for rape and sexual assault
  • Lidl set to open new Connah’s Quay store in December

  • More...

    Plans for 25-bedroom dementia unit at a Flintshire care home given green light.

    News

    Former landlord of Deeside pub sentenced to 24 years in prison for rape and sexual assault

    News

    Lidl set to open new Connah’s Quay store in December

    News

    Boss of Deeside based Iceland Foods set to run London Marathon in memory of his mother

    News

    Senedd rejects mandatory Outdoor Education Bill for Welsh schools

    News

    UK shoppers misled by some origin labelling on food in supermarkets, claims Which?

    News

    Survey shows strong support for schools’ role in children and young people’s health and wellbeing

    News

    Give young people nicotine patches and gum to help them quit vaping, says PHW

    News

    Almost one in five people in Wales waiting to start NHS treatment

    News