Growth Track 360 has welcomed detailed plans to improve rail services for North Wales through the New Wales and Borderlands Rail Franchise
The cross-border alliance of education and private and public sector leaders welcomed a team from Transport for Wales (TfW) and Transport for Wales Rail Services to North Wales to meet stakeholders from business groups and local councils in the region.
TfW are responsible for delivering rail services in Wales. They visited North Wales to report to business leaders and councils on the improvements they are contracted to deliver in North Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government through the new Wales and Borderlands franchise.
David Jones OBE, Chief Executive of Coleg Cambria and Chair of the North Wales CBI chaired the meeting.
He said: “I am encouraged by the visit of senior staff from Transport for Wales to North Wales to outline the improvements they will be making to rail services in the region. Laying out clear plans like this is good for accountability and builds our confidence in the proposed changes being delivered.
“We told the TfW team that we want better transport across North Wales to serve a growing economy. New services need to take account of the cross-border commuting patterns in the Mersey Dee Cross Border functional economic area. New rolling stock is essential to improve the image of the region in the eyes of visitors and investors.
“Improvements to rail are an essential pre-condition of maintaining economic growth. To make the investment in rail services work for ordinary people, rail needs to be better integrated with local bus services and other modes of transport like, walking, cycling and the car.”
Lee Robinson, the North Wales Development Director for Transport for Wales described the rail service improvements planned for North Wales, including:
- A station improvement programme to improve accessibility, security (CCTV), live information boards, parking and cleanliness. Flagship improvements will be made at Blaenau Ffestiniog, Chester, Shotton and Wrexham General. The programme starts now.
- More Sunday services, especially on the Conwy Valley Line to support tourism from 2019
- A 10% reduction in ticket prices and improved ticketing arrangements (digital, multi-modal etc.)
- New services to Liverpool from Chester and Wrexham via the Halton Curve from 2019. New services to Liverpool from Bangor will follow from December 2022. The Liverpool – Wrexham service via the Halton Curve will be supplemented by Cardiff to Liverpool services in 2022.
- Additional North Wales to Cardiff services with an inter-city feel
- New rolling stock and additional services on the Conwy Valley Line
- New rolling stock and half hourly services on the Wrexham to Liverpool service via Bidston from 2021.
Stephen Jones, Secretary to Growth Track 360’s Board, said: “Growth Track has learned in its’ campaigning for rail investment that change comes slowly in the rail industry. Therefore, the Board is proud to have campaigned for big service improvements from the Welsh Franchise that will be delivered from this year through to 2023. The Welsh Government has made these changes possible and deserves praise.
TfW have been open and engaging with local stakeholders. We have told them that we want to work with them in using their improved management information systems and any additional revenue from passenger growth to further improve services.
We are pushing for a major relaunch of the Wrexham to Liverpool line (via Bidston) when the new rolling stock and half hourly services commence.
The health of the local economy depends on the timely delivery of these promised improvements and their integration with other modes of transport.
We will work closely with TfW whilst holding them to account to deliver on behalf of our communities.”