Concerns voiced over plans which could ‘weaken’ rail services between North Wales and Manchester
North Wales Minister Ken Skates has called on community leaders to rally support in opposing plans which could harm rail links in the region.
The Manchester Recovery Task Force (MRTF) has opened a public consultation on three proposed changes which would have direct impacts on Transport for Wales (TfW) services between North Wales and Manchester.
Running until 10 March, the options being considered are aimed at improving the performance of the rail network in the Manchester area.
Full details are as follows:
- Option A: north Wales to Manchester services diverted to serve Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge stations, removing direct services between north Wales and Manchester Airport, and the removal of stops at Manchester Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations.
- Option B: retain the current north Wales to Manchester Airport/Manchester Piccadilly services.
- Option C: divert north Wales to Manchester services via the “Mid-Cheshire Line”. This would remove direct services between north Wales and Manchester Airport, with the service calling at the following stations east of Chester, Northwich, Knutsford, Altrincham and Manchester Piccadilly only.
TfW believes options a and c will increase journey times for passengers travelling between North Wales and Manchester Airport, potentially leading to worse performance for commuters.
In his letter, Mr Skates said: “I am concerned the approach being taken is focused only on addressing the symptoms caused by the fact the rail infrastructure in the Manchester area does not support the level and quality of services passengers in Wales and beyond require, rather than addressing the fundamental infrastructure issues.
“The only acceptable outcome of this consultation for Wales is the retention of our direct TfW services to Manchester Airport as set out in option b.
“It is of great importance that all stakeholders in North Wales are aware of this consultation, and make their views heard.
“North Wales must retain its direct link to Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly.
“If union connectivity and levelling up is to be more than just words this must be the only option to take.”
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