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Business leaders hail news of North Wales Main Line electrification

05 Oct 2023 3 minute read
Rail campaigners Ashley Rogers (right) with Adam Williams, Sean Taylor and Jim Jones. Image: Mandy Jones

Business leaders have hailed the news that the North Wales Main Line is to be electrified as a “once-in-a-generation boost” for the region.

Speaking at the Tory conference on Wednesday (October 4), the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak announced plans to scrap the northern leg of HS2 and instead divert £36bn of rail infrastructure investment to “the north”.

One of these alternative projects listed in the Prime Ministers’ speech included the electrification of the North Wales Main Line, which is believed to cost in the region of £1bn.

The North Wales Business Council have welcomed the news saying the electrified line will help provide faster, cleaner and more frequent train services.

Clare Budden, Chair of the North Wales Business Council, said: “The axing of the HS2 leg to Manchester is not good news for such a pivotal piece of UK transport investment.

“However we have been calling for many years for the full electrification of the North Wales Main Line and to finally have commitment for this is a real positive and making the best out of a bad situation.

“This is a much-needed, once-in-a-generation investment in our railway infrastructure, supporting Net Zero and hopefully improved services for businesses, residents and visitors alike. This is a big deal but we need certainty it will be delivered in full and by when.”


Ashley Rogers, CEO of the Business Council said: “We welcome the news of this investment as an existing major ask for our region. With the exception of funding for the Wrexham to Bidston line, we presume that a lot of the already identified investment priorities in rail we have been campaigning for like improving line speeds and improving Chester station, would happen as part of this full electrification project.”

“We do have to be cautious however, as the devil is in the detail. It would be good to have confirmation of when funding will start to flow and in which years will we see spades in the ground.

“Essential development funding for example is needed immediately to move the project forward. Our connectivity into Manchester and Liverpool is also vital, so those areas also need support for funding for Northern Powerhouse Rail.”

The news was also welcomed by Jim Jones, the chief executive of North Wales Tourism.

He said: “Transport connectivity is incredibly important in terms of tourism and the flow of visitors in and out of north Wales, especially this link between London and Holyhead.

“News about electrification of the north Wales line is long overdue because this is a vitally important strategic route and tourism is central to the economic recovery here in north Wales.

“Let’s not lose the focus on today though. In recent years, there has been a serious decline in the quality of the train service linking north Wales and London and at one point the number of direct trains was slashed to just three a day.

“While things have improved, it’s still a poor imitation of the service we had before the pandemic.”

Opposition politicians have argued that the decision to scrap the northern leg of HS2 has effectively robbed Wales of up to £5bn in rail infrastructure investment that it would have received if the project had been designated as a project only affecting England.

Under the devolution settlement, both Scotland and Northern Ireland are entitled to a proportion of rail infrastructure funding in England, but that does not apply to Wales.

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago

They took the bait then…drinks all round in the ‘Con’ Club…

9 months ago

Devil will be in the detail. Wales can do with the rest of the loot we have paid for, then there are the cancellation costs and don’t forget this government will paint a building a new colour and call it a new building.
40 new hospitals anyone?
HS2 all the way anyone?
Stop the boats anyone?
Integrity and Honesty anyone?

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
9 months ago

Don’t get too excited North Wales. The English Conservatives have a long record of making manifesto promises to Wales only to renege. Examples: Swansea to Cardiff rail electrification manifesto pledge. Scrapped in 2017 Wales EU funding: We once received £350 million per annum EU structural funding because of historical Whitehall neglect. And when English overseer WS David TC Davies was interviewed 2016 shortly before the Brexit vote told BBC Wales online how Wales would not lose one penny but gain more money if we chose to leave the EU,. And when we did and our funding was replaced Whitehall received… Read more »

9 months ago

If HS2 went vastly over budget, will £1 billion get anything done. Seems a trap to con our Senedd into paying what the promise won’t cover. The whole plan is very Boris, plucked out of places you dont want to see.

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
9 months ago

Don’t believe it – it’s all just Tory BS, They scrapped the electrification between Cardiff and Swansea, why suddenly this enthusiasm for a north Wales up-grade? – Votes,

Richard E
Richard E
9 months ago

The big question is – 🔑 will Labour build this ?

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