PLANS for faster rail links throughout North Wales are on track.
David Jones, Welsh Secretary and MP for Clwyd West, met business representatives and council chiefs at a conference in Venue Cymru on Friday to outline plans for the electrification of the 105-mile main line between Holyhead and Crewe.
The electrification of the line would cut travel times when compared to existing diesel trains, and officials are hopeful the development would improve North Wales’ attractiveness as a tourist destination.
A group will be set up to build a business case for the electrification of the line, working with the Mersey-Dee Alliance, Cheshire Councils and the transport group Taith.
The business case would need to be sumbitted before the next high-level output statement given by the Department for Transport (DfT), which would be in 2017.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Jones said: “We have now started the process which, I hope, will result in a strong and robust business case for the electrification of the railway line from Holyhead to Crewe.
“This will not be a short process. Nevertheless this is an important first step and a clear demonstration of the commitment of the business sector and all levels of government in Wales to the electrification of the main railway line in North Wales. I look forward to seeing the business case develop.”
Cllr Dilwyn Roberts, chair of the North Wales Regional Leadership Board and Leader of Conwy County Borough Council, said: “The Leaders of the six North Wales Councils are fully in favour of electrification of the Holyhead – Crewe Railway Line.
"Electrification will improve North Wales’ connectivity with the wider UK railway network and enable many other economic development opportunities.
“We will commission an economic study which will show the benefits to North Wales and the UK of electrifying the Holyhead to Crewe Railway Line. We will submit our study to the Welsh and UK governments.”
He added they received assurances from Carl Sargeant AM, Welsh Minister for Transport, that he would work with them to make their case.