THE ELECTRIFICATION of the North Wales Mainline and other transport schemes were just "examples", a government minister said.

In the Prime Minister's recent announcement of the scrapping of the northern leg of HS2, he said billions would instead be spent on other transport schemes in a Network North plan.

But speaking the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire last Sunday, the transport secretary, Mark Harper, said: “We gave some examples to people about the sorts of things – and we know these things are priorities locally – the sorts of things that that money could be spent on, and to bring it to life for people."

A pledge to electrify the the North Wales Mainline and thus reduce journey times between London and Manchester remains on a Government document. The document had been amended, removing mention of some of the projects initially announced. However, no specific amount of funding is mentioned - which there is for other schemes. And neither is there a timescale of when it would take place.

It is thought it will cost £1bn to electrify the North Wales Coast Mainline between Holyhead and Chester. 

But Welsh Secretary of State, David TC Davies, has said this figure could not be precise.

"If you want an exact figure, right, it's not going to be a billion pounds," he told BBC Breakfast. "If you want the exact sums, it's not going to come in at exactly 1,000 million pounds

"You start with a strategic outline business case, then you go to an outline business case and then a full business case, which will give you the cost at the time that that's done, and then usually they go up a little bit, so I'm not going to pretend that that is the exact figure."

Mr Davies denied that the prime minister had made an announcement without anything much behind it.

"It's not a headline without a plan because we have to go through the three case business stage process to get there and it does take time to do that," he said.

"So it is a cast-iron commitment that we will build that line. But, obviously, we'll have to go through the business case process to get there.

"I'm not going to pretend that that will be the exact figure, I suspect it will be probably will be a bit higher than that."

Mr Harper later said: "I don’t think there’s anything ambiguous at all. We’ve taken every penny of the savings from HS2 – £36 billion – and we’ve set out how they’re going to be spent in the parts of the country where HS2 was going to be spent. I think it’s very clear, and happy to be judged on it."

Business and local authority leaders from North Wales, the Wirral and Cheshire West and Chester have cautiously welcomed the big rail improvement pledges by the Government, in the wake of HS2's Northern section being scrapped.

Growth Track 360 chair and Leader of Cheshire West & Chester Council, Councillor Louise Gittins, said: “Whilst I am bitterly disappointed by the cancellation of the northern leg of HS2, last week’s announcement on the North Wales Coast Main Line from the Prime Minister represents a huge achievement for the advocacy by the cross-border and all-party Growth Track 360 alliance over the past seven years.

"We have succeeded in moving this project from the fringes of transport policy into the mainstream of rail investment decisions.

"I will press for the re-instatement of HS2 because Growth Track 360 has always envisaged an electrified North Wales Coast Main Line being fully integrated with HS2 at Crewe and Northern Powerhouse Rail at Warrington.

"Nevertheless, Growth Track 360 recognises the huge value the modernised route will have when connected to the existing rail network."

She added: "The UK Government cannot deliver electrification of the North Wales Coast Main Line without a business case. We look forward to seeing more details of how the commitment made by the Prime Minister will be implemented and, in particular, how Chester station will be transformed as the gateway to North Wales and Cheshire.”