Calls for train services between London, Chester and North Wales to return to pre-pandemic levels
Calls have been made for the frequency of direct train services between London Euston, Chester and North Wales to be restored to pre-pandemic levels.
The Growth Track 360 partnership is seeking assurances that Avanti West Coast will be moving as quickly as possible to restore direct services that run throughout the day.
Avanti took over the running of long-distance train services in North Wales from Virgin in 2019.
Direct services between the region and London were then lost due to the collapse of demand for rail travel arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Business and local authority leaders from North Wales, the Wirral and Cheshire West and Chester, who make up the Growth Track 360 partnership, say there “is concern at the slow pace of returning to the full-service patterns”.
There are currently two direct services a day between London Euston and Holyhead.
Leaders of The Growth Track 360 group said there was a lack of consultation by the train operator with local stakeholders on “both the original cessation and the post-Covid recovery of services.”
Growth Track 360 Chair and Leader of Cheshire West & Chester Council, Councillor Louise Gittins, said: “We are asking Avanti West Coast to outline their plans to recover the high level of intercity rail services that our region enjoyed prior to Covid 19 and set out when we can see an increase in services from two direct trains a day.
“We also want a commitment to consult local authorities and other stakeholders in the region on their next set of timetable plans.”
Growth Track 360 Vice Chair and Leader of Flintshire Council, Councillor Ian Roberts, said: “Cheshire and North Wales benefited immensely from improvements provided towards the end of the Virgin franchise with an hourly direct train from Chester to London and services running to and from North Wales two-hourly.
“Direct links were thus provided to the university city of Bangor, the gateway port to Ireland at Holyhead and leading tourism destination Llandudno.
“There was also a train from Wrexham which joined at Chester and returned at night.
“Restoring these trains is very important to the credibility and marketability of our region to investors and tourists.”
Avanti West Coast has been approached for a comment.
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