Wales Office Minister Alun Cairns and Rail Minister Claire Perry are in North Wales today (Thursday 12 November) hoping to agree the creation of a major new body to drive forward rail modernisation in the region.
Both ministers are attending a rail summit in Llandudno, where a new task force, which includes local authorities, the Welsh Government and business, is expected to be announced. Its role will be to make a detailed case to the UK Government for rail modernisation in North Wales.
The task force proposal will be proposed by the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, which is made up of leading business figures from the region. Attending the summit alongside the two UK Government ministers is Edwina Hart, Welsh Government Minister for Economy, Science and Transport.
Details of the new body are expected to be agreed at the summit. Key cross-border supporters include the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership and the Mersey-Dee Alliance.
Wales Office Minister Alun Cairns said:
North Wales is home to major exporters and a thriving small and medium size business sector. This dynamic region deserves the world class infrastructure it needs to prosper.
The Northern Powerhouse is linking the great cities of the north to rebalance the economy by encouraging fresh growth and investment - Wales cannot risk being left behind. The time is now to create the modern transport network that businesses in North Wales need in order to capture the benefits of the Northern Powerhouse vision.
Rail Minister Claire Perry said:
This one nation government is determined that all areas of the UK will benefit from the record amounts we are investing in transport. We have ambitious plans to rebalance our economy and it is right that North Wales should be a part of that.
Passengers will benefit from better journeys thanks to our planned signalling improvements on the line between Flint and Holyhead, while the Halton Curve link will create direct regular services between North Wales and Liverpool for the first time in decades. Devolving the Wales and Borders franchise will also help ensure local needs are met. But as we look ahead to the future, it is vital that Welsh people, leaders and businesses work together to make a clear case for further improvements.