Growth Track 360 sets out ten key objectives for the region's railways as the industry devises its 30-year Strategic Plan

14 March 2022

Business and local authority leaders from North Wales, the Wirral and Cheshire West and Chester in the Growth Track 360 partnership have made a detailed submission to industry leaders envisioning the next three decades for Britain’s railways. 

The Great British Railways Transition Team has been tasked by UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP with creating a 30-year ‘Whole Industry Strategic Plan’ in advance of legislation expected during 2022 to implement a new structure for rail across England, Wales and Scotland. 

The ten key objectives identified by Growth Track 360 are: 
  1. Increased capacity for passengers and freight;
  2. Faster journey times;
  3. Integration between trains, buses and active travel (walking & cycling);
  4. Devolution of planning, service delivery and funds including enhancements to the network;
  5. Development of a UK supply chain for rail-related products and services;
  6. Decarbonisation including electrification as well as battery and hydrogen powered trains;
  7. Trains designed around the needs of different kinds of users rather than just commuters, with leisure and tourism, families and people with mobility impairments taken into account;
  8. Technological innovation to make travel easy to buy and to eliminate fare evasion;
  9. Full and continuing engagement with the public on measures to attract them out of their cars; and
  10. Delivery of the regional metro network and long distance routes sought by Growth Track 360, with transformation of the Wrexham-Bidston line, electrification of the North Wales Main Line and the complete overhaul of Chester station in the first wave.

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

“The total package of rail investments for which we are campaigning is designed to support a long-term and irreversible improvement to the economic fortunes of our cross-border region over several generations in the way that major railway schemes have shown themselves capable of delivering over the 200 years since the invention of the train. The 30-year plan for rail is a welcome development but there is no time to lose in making key investments now.”

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

“North Wales and the adjoining areas of North West England were centres of innovation and investment from the earliest days of the railways. This means that we enjoy the advantages of a well-established network alongside the unfortunate legacy of many decades of failure by successive UK Governments to invest in the upgrading of technology and the enhancement to capacity necessary for what is essentially a nineteenth century network to fulfil its twenty-first century potential. The need to decarbonise travel provides a further compelling need to launch a new age of the train in our region.”

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