UK

Billion-pound rail plan for North Wales is ‘unprecedented’, says minister

The Government plans to provide £1 billion to fund a major upgrade of the North Wales Main Line.

A project to electrify a major rail line in North Wales will involve ‘unprecedented investment’, Transport Secretary Mark Harper said
Rail tracks A project to electrify a major rail line in North Wales will involve ‘unprecedented investment’, Transport Secretary Mark Harper said (Lynne Cameron/PA)

A project to electrify a major rail line in North Wales will involve “unprecedented investment”, Transport Secretary Mark Harper said.

The Government plans to provide £1 billion to fund a major upgrade of the North Wales Main Line, which will include electrification.

This will be funded by money saved from cancelling the plan to extend HS2 north of Birmingham, according to the Department for Transport.

The scheme would improve journeys on a 126-mile route between Crewe, Warrington, Wrexham and Holyhead, where ferry services run to and from Dublin.

Mr Harper met local MPs, councillors and business leaders in Llandudno, North Wales, on Friday to discuss how the project will benefit the region.

The Cabinet minister told the PA news agency: “It’s unprecedented investment in this part of the world.”

He said there is “cross-party” support for the plan.

“It’s a big investment,” he said. “People very much welcome it.”

The project to electrify the Great Western railway line between London and south Wales ran several times over the expected budget of around £900 million.

Mr Harper said: “We talked this morning about the lessons learned from electrification elsewhere.

“We’ve learned a lot from the electrification of the Great Western line.”

Asked when the North Wales Main Line project will happen, Mr Harper said it is “too early” to give a timetable.

He added: “I’m not going to pluck a figure out of the air.

“I think people are very realistic.”