A task group is recommending two of Chester’s key rail lines should be electrified.
The North of England Rail Electrification Task Force says the electrification of the Warrington to Chester and Chester to Stockport lines are essential to a modern rail network across the North of England. It recommends the Government prioritises resources so work can progress with a degree of urgency.
Backed by hundreds of residents who signed his ‘Chester Rail’ petition, city MP Stephen Mosley has been lobbying ministers, pushing discussions in Parliament, and galvanising support within the community to see lines in and out of Chester electrified.
He commented: “Electrification will bring better, faster and more modern trains and provide a welcome boost to our local economy. It will be welcomed by commuters to and from Chester and it will enable us to reap the rewards from HS2. It will also make it easier than ever for people outside Chester to visit our beautiful city.
“I will now be making the detailed business case for the rail electrification works to be commenced as soon as possible. Investment in our infrastructure is sorely needed to drive economic growth in the north of England and ensure a rail network in our region that serves the needs of Chester.
“I will also continue to campaign for the electrification of the Chester to Crewe line so that we have a modern, efficient and user-friendly network.”
Welcoming the report, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Between 2014 and 2019 more than £38 billion is being spent to improve and maintain our national rail network as part of the government’s long term economic plan. Electrification of the railways is a key part of that investment programme, with work underway across the north, the Midlands, and into south Wales.”
TravelWatch NorthWest recently explained that a government announcement about new franchises for Northern and TransPennine rail services would bring an end to the ‘unpopular’ Pacer trains, including on the Mid-Cheshire line, and their replacement with ‘promised’ new diesel trains.
In addition, spokesman John Moorhouse told The Chronicle that Merseyrail, which operates the Chester to Liverpool line, is looking at options for the future of its fleet and will be presenting a report to the Combined Authority later in the year. “They are looking at either refurbished or new stock,” he said.
Residents can sign up to Stephen Mosley MP’s ‘Chester Rail’ campaign at www.chesterrail.com