Over £44m will be made available by the Welsh Government to redouble and ‘substantially improve’ the railway line between Wrexham and Chester, meaning it will return to being dual tracked.
The proposals were first put forward in 2008, with the Welsh Government committing and contracting Network Rail to deliver the development. Although a summer review into the proposals, aimed at maximising value for money and the Welsh Government’s investment in public transport delayed the start of the project, the Welsh Government progressed with the initial proposal and today’s announcement has confirmed their intentions.
The project will go ahead in the spring 2015.
The seven mile stretch of railway will run between Wrexham General and Saltney Junction. It will enable trains to travel at 90mph in some sections and offers the distinct possibility of increasing the frequency of services along the line.
A dual line ran between the two locations until 1980 when it was reduced to a single track to enable the construction of the A483 bypass.
Welcoming the decision Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths said “Increasing the capacity of the line between Wrexham and Chester is hugely important to North Wales, creating greater opportunities for faster, more frequent journeys between South Wales as well as the possibility of direct services from Wrexham to the North West of England.”
“The redoubling of the line will undoubtedly benefit commuters and boost the regional economy.”
“I was always confident the redoubling of the line would go ahead and I have always made strong representation on behalf of my constituents and the residents of North East Wales to ensure the proposals are undertaken.”
“The decision by the Welsh Government to grant the funding clearly indicates the importance of the route to Wrexham and North East Wales as a whole.”
Local MP Ian Lucas has also commented saying “A major investment like this is a real vote of confidence in Wrexham and will be a further boost to our economy. I am pleased that a Labour Welsh Government will restore this vital link and I look forward to work beginning.”
“This is a very welcome investment in our local infrastructure.”
Llyr Gruffydd AM said: “The Minister’s statement that the dualling of the railway from Wrexham to Chester will go ahead is long overdue. She has created unwanted uncertainty about a public transport project that is vital for jobs and the economy of the north-east.
“I hope that this work will start with the utmost urgency as it was due to have been completed this year, so that this part of Wales can benefit from Welsh Government investment.”