Infrastructure investment essential to make rail competitive for 'Green' post COVID-19 economic recovery

6 July 2020

Growth Track 360 is re-launching its campaign for investment in rail infrastructure in the Mersey Dee and North Wales cross-border region to seek a boost to the economy and the decarbonisation of transport.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Chair of Growth Track 360, said: "Growth Track 360 is relaunching its campaign for rail investment in the North Wales and Mersey Dee Areas. Rail infrastructure is an essential part of:
  • Fiscal stimulus to promote economic recovery from COVID-19
  • the proposed 'Levelling Up' and 'Strengthen the Union' agendas of the UK Government
  • tackling the climate emergency
"We must build a low-carbon transport system that offers an effective choice to the private motor car for the communities of North Wales, Cheshire and the Wirral.

"The Welsh Government's proposed North Wales Metro based on rail hubs served by integrated bus services and active travel corridors for employment centres offers a huge opportunity to move commuting for work from the car to rail and local public transport.

"The UK Government must match the Welsh Government's ambition by supporting the investment priorities of Growth Track 360 which are endorsed by Transport for the North.

"I have met MPs from the region and the UK Rail Minister, Chris Heaton Harris MP to promote our new campaign. The Rail Minister agrees that our agenda matches the Government's desire to invest in the North to 'Level Up'. He asked that GT360 work closely with MPs in the Mersey Dee and North Wales All Party Parliamentary Group, which we will.

"Our new campaign will build upon our recent achievements and focus on:
  • Improved access to Manchester and Manchester International Airport
  • Improved access to Liverpool via the Halton Curve and the Wrexham/Bidston route
  • A HS2 Hub Station at Crewe with five to seven trains per hour to improve London connectivity
  • A North Wales and Chester accessible interchange at Warrington for HS2 Northbound and Northern Powerhouse Rail East-West Services
  • Long-term electrification, Holyhead to Crewe, to enable HS2 trains to run from Crewe to Holyhead
  • New, low-carbon rolling stock 
"Growth Track 360's campaign to electrify the North Wales Coast railway line from Holyhead to Chester in 2016/2017 secured improved rail services from North Wales to Manchester, Liverpool and Cardiff via the Welsh Government's Wales and Borderlands Franchise. We also have commitments from the UK Government for investment in the North Wales Coast Line and Chester Station to enable more frequent services from North Wales to pass through to other locations.

"Growth Track 360 will continue to work closely with the area's Members of Parliament, Members of the Welsh Senedd, Council Leaders and the Welsh Government Minister for North Wales to achieve our aims.

"Working together under the Growth Track 360 banner was successful in the past and will work for us in planning for a new, greener economy after COVID-19."

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