Rail investment could create 300k jobs in North West and North Wales, finds report
A new vision for rail investment in the North West and North Wales could create 300k new jobs, boost housebuilding and increase productivity, according to a report.
Launched today (February 26), the West and Wales Strategic Rail Prospectus represents a collaboration of public and private sector leaders from Cheshire West and Chester, North Wales, Warrington and Cheshire East.
The prospectus, which has the backing of Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester, outlines how the 2.1m people living in the area would benefit from improved journey times and more frequent services.
The document says investment in strategic rail hubs in Crewe, Warrington, Chester and Manchester Airport is essential if HS2 is to meet its full potential. It also calls for improvements across the network to enhance connectivity and mobility.
According to the West and Wales Strategic Rail Prospectus, Crewe needs a proper rail hub that enables between five and seven fast trains to stop there every hour, along with more frequent local services on the lines converging on the town.
Such improvements would bring more than 1.5m people over an hour closer to London, the report says.
The prospectus will launch today at the House of Commons, where dozens of senior business, rail and local authority leaders will be addressed by the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling; Cheshire West and Chester Council Leader Samantha Dixon; and the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport, Ken Skates.
Cllr Dixon said: “Targeted investment in the area’s four key rail hubs and across the North Wales, Cheshire and Warrington rail network can deliver a step change in connectivity and growth across the region.
“We are asking Government and the wider rail industry to recognise the potential that this investment can bring and to work alongside us to make it a reality.”
Cheshire East Council Leader Cllr Rachel Bailey said of the report: “This prospectus for investment covers a hugely diverse and successful region. Cheshire and Warrington’s economy has doubled in size since 1997 and has the second highest GVA per head of population outside London.
“Our case for having the optimum HS2 hub at Crewe, with direct connections to Manchester, Birmingham and London, will ensure this success can continue into the future and underpin the Constellation Partnership and Growth Track 360 plans by connecting them into the heart of the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine regions.”