Posted: Thu 3rd Feb 2022

Minister for North Wales urged to support calls for earlier introduction of direct rail link between Llandudno and Liverpool

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Feb 3rd, 2022

A Flintshire based MS has called on the Minister for North Wales has called for a rail link between Llandudno and Liverpool to be introduced earlier, to support his plea.

Speaking in a UK Parliament debate last month, Vale of Clwyd MP Dr James Davies called for hourly rail services between Llandudno and Liverpool, which have been promised from the end of 2023, to be brought forward.

In Wednesday’s meeting of the Welsh Parliament, North Wales MS Mark Isherwood raised the MP’s request and asked the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd, Lesley Griffiths MS, if she would join him in calling on Transport for Wales to bring forward the start date.

He said:“Speaking in last month’s Westminster Hall Debate on Transport Connectivity in Merseyside, Vale of Clwyd MP, James Davies, who, topically, also Chairs the Mersey Dee North Wales All-Party Parliamentary Group, called for hourly rail services between Llandudno and Liverpool, which had been promised from the end of 2023, to be brought forward, stating:

‘Direct rail services from the North Wales coast ceased in the 1970s. Thanks to the reopening of the Halton Curve, hourly services are promised from Llandudno to Liverpool, although not, I think, until December 2023. Will the Minister join me in calling on Transport for Wales to bring that forward if it can?’

“Well, thanks to the £14.5 million Halton Curve project, funded through the UK Government’s Local Growth Funding awarded to the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, direct daily services between Wrexham and Liverpool, which you know of, were introduced in 2019, but the promised direct services between Llandudno and Liverpool are not expected until the back end of next year.

“What discussions are you therefore having with your Cabinet colleagues regarding an earlier introduction of the service by Welsh Government-owned Transport for Wales, to help build our region back from the pandemic, attract visitors, boost the local economy and encourage more people on to rail for the good of the environment?”

In her response, the Minister confirmed “our commitment is to deliver a new hourly service between Liverpool and Llandudno from December 2023”, but deflected calls for Welsh Government-owned Transport for Wales to introduce the service sooner by instead claiming that the UK Government need “to fulfil their responsibilities for improving the rail network in Wales”.

Business and local authority leaders from North Wales, the Wirral and Cheshire West and Chester in the Growth Track 360 partnership have called for the electrification of the Chester and North Wales main line to coincide with completion of HS2 to Crewe.

The move would allow the introduction of direct, electric, high-speed services over this route.

Simultaneous electrification between Chester and Warrington would transform connectivity with Manchester and its Airport given the Government’s declared plans to restore the low-level platforms at Warrington Bank Quay station as part of the Northern Powerhouse Rail proposals.

Growth Track 360 believes that direct high-speed (HS2) trains should serve Chester and North Walesgiven the vast tourism and commercial potential of North Wales and the Mersey Dee area.

Chester is the rail hub for a significant part of North West England and the whole of North Wales.

Chester is also one of the busiest stations in the North West region by passenger usage and is a substantial business and tourism destination in its own right.

Growth Track 360 Vice Chair and Leader of Flintshire Council, Councillor Ian Roberts, said:

“Our industrial, commercial and tourism destinations would receive a tremendous boost through enhanced direct rail connectivity with London, Manchester and Manchester Airport provided by HS2 if our local lines are upgraded at the same time. ”

“Growth Track 360 will be working closely with local MPs from all parties and the Welsh Government to ensure that our case is made in Parliament during the passage of the HS2 legislation.”

“We will also look to the Union Connectivity Review to allocate development funding and capital monies to invest in the rail infrastructure necessary to deliver our objectives of an electrified North Wales Coast Main Line between Crewe and Holyhead and an upgraded Chester Station that can handle the increase in passengers our vision will generate.”

“This is essential to enable frequent and fast connectivity for our communities to HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail at Crewe and Warrington”.

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