Potential rail upgrades part of measures announced to better connect Wales

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Wales to see a range of initiatives to support transport projects which will boost the economy and spread opportunity
Includes unprecedented £1 billion investment into electrification of North Wales Main Line, and £700,000 for Transport for Wales to explore upgrades to Shotton and Chester stations and increase North Wales Main Line capacity.

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Strengthening transport connections will enhance business, leisure and tourism – making it easier to trade, create jobs, and ensure shared economic growth across the UK

Work on road improvements and rail upgrades will boost business and improve connectivity across the UK, Transport Secretary Mark Harper announced today (7 December) in his response to Lord Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review.

Alongside the £1 billion Network North investment into improving the North Wales Main Line, Wales is receiving £3.4 million to investigate improvements to the North Wales Main Line and South Wales Main Line, and will benefit from reforms which will allow Government support to protect vital domestic flight connectivity between more regions of the UK, rather than just into London as is currently the case.

The full package includes range of measures have been announced including £8 million to investigate upgrades to the A75 in Scotland and funding to explore ways to electrify more rail services in Northern Ireland.

These projects will explore options to improve transport links which strengthen connections between communities and across the UK, helping to drive tourism and grow the economy.

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper said:

“We are committed to delivering growth opportunities across the United Kingdom, including potential rail upgrades across Wales.

“Today we are announcing more investment into projects that will boost connectivity and enhance transport connections across Wales. These projects will identify schemes that can bring economic benefits to people across the UK.

“I’d like to thank the Welsh Government for working collaboratively with us on these projects and I look forward to continuing to work closely with them on improving UK transport connectivity.”

Improved connectivity across the UK will promote economic growth by increasing access to a wider pool of skills and opportunities. They will be supported by significant long-term work through other Government programmes including Network North.

Projects dedicated to enhancing connectivity across Wales include:

Providing £2.7m to Transport for Wales to develop options for upgrades to the South Wales Main Line, including new stations between Cardiff and the Severn Tunnel and increased services between Bristol and West Wales,
Providing £700k to Transport for Wales to study options for upgrading Shotton and Chester stations and increasing capacity on the North Wales Main Line.
Providing an unprecedented £1bn investment to fund the electrification of the North Wales Main Line, through Network North. This will bring parts of North Wales within an hour of Manchester and provide more punctual and reliable journeys on the 105-mile route between Crewe and Holyhead, with connections to Liverpool, Warrington, and Wrexham.
Delivering the Midlands Rail Hub in full by investing £1.75 billion to improve journey times, increase capacity and boost frequency of services, benefitting those travelling between Cardiff and Birmingham.
Reforming domestic aviation policy by updating Public Service Obligation (PSO) policy to include routes that operate to and from different regions of the UK, rather than just into London as is currently the case. This means routes throughout the UK will be protected by the UK Government’s PSO policy to ensure minimum levels of air services that are socially and economically vital for the region.
Secretary of State for Wales David TC Davies said:

“The UK Government has invested millions directly in Wales’ transport infrastructure, speeding up journeys for travellers. Following the Hendy review we are committed to making further significant improvements, leading to better-connected communities and greater opportunity for people across the country.

“The planned £1bn electrification of the North Wales Main Line, £50m for Cardiff cross rail, £141m for the Valley Lines and £11m for the A4119 road upgrade are just some of the improvements the UK Government is delivering in infrastructure in every part of Wales.”

The response to the Union Connectivity Review marks an important step in increasing UK connectivity and delivering the strong, reliable transport connections people depend on every day. The review was conducted by Lord Peter Hendy as he called for improved transport connectivity across the UK. The review was the first UK-wide multi-modal strategic transport assessment in a generation.

Lord Hendy has welcomed the Government’s response and said:

“I welcome the Government’s response to my review and the announcements in it. My recommendations outlined the next steps that the government should take to identify investments that will improve connectivity and support economic growth, job creation, house building, social cohesion and sustainability. The government’s response shows that they are taking the necessary actions to move this work forward and demonstrates their commitment to improving UK connectivity.

“I am also pleased to see that partnerships between the UK government, and each of the Scottish government, Welsh government, and Northern Ireland Executive have underpinned this work and I look forward to seeing them continue in the future.”

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