News railway-train-crossing

A North Wales Assembly Member has renewed calls for the electrification of rail lines across the region.

Plaid Cymru AM Llyr Gruffydd made his appeal for the Welsh Government to push the UK Government for the improved service in the wake of an announcement that Swansea and the Valleys lines were to be upgraded.

He said: “There was good news for Swansea and the Valleys recently with news of rail electrification being extended beyond Cardiff. This will boost the economy for that part of Wales, so it’s disappointing that the UK coalition government has failed to do the same for North Wales.

“It’s even more disappointing that the Welsh Government minister Carl Sargeant has made no contact with his UK counterpart regarding electrification for the North. It’s a relatively modest project that would boost public transport in the region. This kind of capital investment is desperately needed to provide work and improve communications.

“The lack of action here contrasts with the £16 billion is being spent by the UK Government to save 30 minutes on the journey from London to Birmingham.”

Lucas meets Mersey rail chiefs

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas met with MerseyTravel’s Interim Chief Executive Jim Barclay and Chairman Cllr Liam Robinson, at Wrexham Station this week to discuss improving rail links between North Wales and the North West.

Recent Parliamentary debates suggest that Transport Ministers are currently unwilling to support an electrification project between Wrexham and Bidston which would improve the speed of services between Wrexham and Liverpool.

However, after this weeks’ meeting, Mr Lucas believes there are other opportunities which could be explored for improving links as well as the electrification proposal.

He said: “Our discussions about how to improve connectivity between North Wales and the Wirral included electrification, but also increasing direct service to Birkenhead, and we will be investigating further the best way these can be provided.

“We also discussed improving the Halton Curve route, which would mean better access to Liverpool Airport. Alongside the duelling of the Wrexham to Chester line, this could improve links to Merseyside and the North West.”