Borderlands councils seek £20m rail boost

Local authority leaders from Cheshire West & Chester, Wirral and North Wales have asked Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help fund three schemes to boost cross-border connectivity, including the refurbishment of Chester train station. 

The councils are part of Growth Track 360, a public-private sector partnership headed up by the North Wales and Mersey Dee Rail Task Force, which was set up to lobby the Government to provide £1bn towards local rail upgrades.

The partnership has requested that Sunak set aside £20m of seed funding, to be distributed over the next three years, to “enable Growth Track 360 to make decisive, tangible progress with projects”, according to Cllr Louise Gittins, leader of Cheshire West & Chester Council and chair of Growth Track. 

The three projects earmarked for funding are: 

  • Improvements to the North Wales mainline intended to boost tourism  
  • An upgrade of the Liverpool to Wrexham connection, by increasing capacity and cutting journey times 
  • Modernisation of Chester train station to create a “Millennial Gateway for a City of Millennia”. 

Gittins said: “The modest seedcorn funding we are seeking from the chancellor will enable us to move these three key rail improvement schemes to the final stage of development and deliver [them] within the lifetime of the current parliament.” 

The North West’s pipeline transport schemes were discussed at Place North West’s Transport + Infrastructure event last week.

Book tickets to hear more about Cheshire’s development prospects at Place North West’s Cheshire Development Update, to be held via Remo on 26 November. 

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Northwich in East Cheshire gets let down by Cheshire West and Chester council again on transportation issues. We need a new third town bridge to connect the town to Winnington a new Winnington/Barnton bridge for potentially 3,000 houses at Winnington, and also for the Middlewich to Northwich train line to be set up. We’ve been asking for them for over 40 years.

By Northwich

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