THE UK Government has announced North Wales will benefit from projects to boost rail connectivity across the country. 

Transport Secretary Mark Harper has announced plans for rail upgrades in Wales. It includes a proposed £1 billion investment into electrification of North Wales Main Line, and £700,000 for Transport for Wales to explore upgrades to Shotton and Chester stations and increase North Wales Main Line capacity.

The funding is part of the government's plan to spend money saved by axing plans to build HS2 north of Birmingham and is in response to Network Rail chairman Lord Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review published in November 2021.

Mr Harper said: “We are committed to delivering growth opportunities across the United Kingdom, including potential rail upgrades across Wales.

“Today (December 7) we are announcing more investment into projects that will boost connectivity and enhance transport connections across Wales. These projects will identify schemes that can bring economic benefits to people across the UK.

“I'd like to thank the Welsh Government for working collaboratively with us on these projects and I look forward to continuing to work closely with them on improving UK transport connectivity.” 


Projects dedicated to enhancing connectivity across Wales include:

  • Providing £2.7m to Transport for Wales to develop options for upgrades to the South Wales Main Line, including new stations between Cardiff and the Severn Tunnel and increased services between Bristol and West Wales,
  • Providing £700k to Transport for Wales to study options for upgrading Shotton and Chester stations and increasing capacity on the North Wales Main Line.
  • Providing an unprecedented £1bn investment to fund the electrification of the North Wales Main Line, through Network North. This will bring parts of North Wales within an hour of Manchester and provide more punctual and reliable journeys on the 105-mile route between Crewe and Holyhead, with connections to Liverpool, Warrington, and Wrexham.
  • Delivering the Midlands Rail Hub in full by investing £1.75 billion to improve journey times, increase capacity and boost frequency of services, benefitting those travelling between Cardiff and Birmingham. 
  • Reforming domestic aviation policy by updating Public Service Obligation (PSO) policy to include routes that operate to and from different regions of the UK, rather than just into London as is currently the case. This means routes throughout the UK will be protected by the UK Government’s PSO policy to ensure minimum levels of air services that are socially and economically vital for the region.

Mr Harper was responding to the Union Connectivity Review - conducted by Lord Peter Hendy as he called for improved transport connectivity across the UK. The review was the first UK-wide multi-modal strategic transport assessment in a generation.

Lord Hendy said: “I welcome the Government’s response to my review and the announcements in it. My recommendations outlined the next steps that the government should take to identify investments that will improve connectivity and support economic growth, job creation, house building, social cohesion and sustainability.

"The government’s response shows that they are taking the necessary actions to move this work forward and demonstrates their commitment to improving UK connectivity."