A PUBLIC-PRIVATE partnership to improve North Wales, the Wirral and Cheshire West and Chester has welcomed the Welsh Government’s commitment to improve services on the Wrexham to Bidston line.

Following meetings with Lee Waters MS, Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Climate Change, and senior managers of Transport for Wales (TfW), Growth Track 360 said it welcomes pledges to improve services on the line.

The TfW commitment to improvement follows the cessation of train services on the Wrexham to Bidston (Borderlands) line following their replacement by rail replacement bus services earlier this year. The withdrawal of train services followed a steady deterioration in service reliability over the winter of 2022.

The removal of trains from the line arose from the redeployment of Class 150 diesel trains to other parts of the Wales and Borders network in response to the withdrawal of Class 175 trains from service for repairs following a number of engine fires.

Transport for Wales restored train services to the Wrexham-Bidston line in April 2023 by bringing new Class 230 trains into service. The new trains are refurbished London Underground stock and are yet to perform to their full potential, with services not yet running on time and experiencing a number of “teething” issues.

Growth Track 360 is a public-private partnership established in 2016 uniting North Wales, the Wirral and Cheshire West and Chester. Its goal is improving cross-border transport connectivity with specific emphasis on rail.

Councillor Louise Gittins, chair and leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Growth Track 360’s focus is to improve future rail services by seeking new investment in the rail infrastructure of North Wales, Cheshire and the Wirral.

"Local concerns about services on the Wrexham to Bidston Line required Growth Track 360 to make representations to the Welsh Government to improve the operation of existing services on the Borderlands Line. Poor service delivery and delays to the introduction of a long-promised half hourly service saw a steady erosion of passenger confidence in the service.

"The Minister, Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change in the Welsh Government has responded. Along with the senior management of Transport for Wales, the train operator, he has apologised for poor services on the line and sponsored the development of an improvement plan."

She added: "Credit is due to the Minister for his intervention and to the senior staff in Transport for Wales for entering into a constructive dialogue with local stakeholders to improve services. Growth Track 360 expects that the drivers, engineers and guards working the new Class230 trains are equally engaged in the process of improvement.

"The Borderlands Line has great potential to link three major employment zones and provide good access from Wrexham and Flintshire to Liverpool by public transport. The Minister, Transport for Wales and local stakeholders are all committed to work together to deliver reliable, improved services that will help drive passenger and economic growth.” 


Councillor Ian Roberts, Growth Track 360 vice chair and leader of Flintshire Council, said: “I welcome the commitment of Transport for Wales to restore train services which run to time."

This will be done by:

  • Resolving outstanding technical issues with the new class 230 trains
  • Dedicating the Class 230 fleet to the Borderlands line
  • Working with drivers, guards and maintenance staff to operate the new Class 230 stock to their full capability.

When Transport for Wales has restored hourly trains that run on time, it will introduce a new, hourly limited stop service which, with the existing hourly service, will offer half hourly services and accommodate freight services on the Line.

Transport for Wales has also committed to improve:

  • Information services for passengers
  • The availability of ticket purchase options
  • The management of rail replacement bus services, which it pledges to keep to a minimum, as they do not suit the line and the local road network